Soumya Prakash Pradhan

Digital media is easily accessible, and many people use the internet regularly.

In today's social media era, it is crucial to protect children from exposure to inappropriate content, especially online pornography.

To address this concern, Britain has proposed new age-check guidelines on Tuesday.

The aim is to shield children from accessing online pornography. One suggestion is to employ AI-based technology to verify if a viewer is of legal age to view such content.

The recently enacted Online Safety Act in the UK mandates that websites and apps displaying or publishing pornographic content take measures to prevent children from encountering such material.

In Britain, the legal age to watch porn is 18 or older, according to the Indian Express report.

Research from 2021-2022 indicates that, on average, children first encounter online pornography at the age of 13.

Shockingly, nearly a quarter come across it by the age of 11, with one in 10 encountering it as young as 9, as reported by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Melanie Dawes, CEO of media regulator Ofcom, emphasised the importance of all services providing strong protection for children against stumbling upon pornography. At the same time, they should ensure that adults' privacy rights and freedoms to access legal content are safeguarded.

The regulator's suggestion for facial age estimation involves using AI to analyse a viewer's facial features. 

This would likely entail taking a selfie on a device and uploading it, according to the report. 

Additionally, the proposed guidance includes photo identification matching, requiring users to upload a photo ID like a passport or driving license to prove their age, along with credit card checks.

The regulator emphasised that less secure methods, such as self-declaration of age, online payment methods without age verification, and disclaimers or warnings, would no longer meet the standards outlined in its new guidance, as per the report.