How the Safety Tech industry is creating a safer internet

profile picture Yoti 4 min read
Mother and daughter having fun with laptop at home

With an ever-growing need to protect people online, we’re proud to be working with the Safety Tech industry. We’ve taken a look at just how this industry is going about such important, sensitive work online. 


What is the Safety Tech industry?

It provides innovative technology to protect people online, collaborating with organisations in this sector that share a commitment to improving online safety. 

Safety Tech providers develop technology and solutions to create safer experiences and combat harmful content, contact or conduct. Whether it’s verifying the age of users, providing parental consent for when children are online, or advising and supporting a community of moderators to remove harmful content, they’re constantly exploring ways to help. 


Why is Safety Tech important?

Everyone has a right to feel safe online, yet sadly this isn’t the case. It’s far too easy for young people to access inappropriate and harmful content, with children as young as seven stumbling across pornography online. Children are being tricked into sharing explicit images of themselves (with the majority of self-generated child sexual abuse images of 11-13-year-old girls). With adults able to falsify their age to access younger platforms there’s growing concern that children’s privacy and rights are not protected. 

But there are early signs of change. Across the UK and worldwide, more legislation is coming into force to address these issues. Last year, the ICO introduced the Children’s Code in the UK, imposing a set of standards for businesses to follow if their website or product is accessed by children. In the wake of work from the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the EU and Australia, California has also recently passed the Age Appropriate Design Code Act, which will come into force in 2024. 

Along with this legislation, the Safety Tech industry’s solutions play a vital role in protecting people in these spaces. 


What is Yoti’s role in the industry? 

We always want to collaborate with those helping to safeguard young people and push for age-appropriate experiences online. Our age verification solutions let users prove they’re the right age to access a service, without sharing any personal information. By knowing the correct age of a user, you can provide an age-appropriate experience for children and young people.

Our solutions can enable effective parental consent, prevent children from accessing age-restricted content, and stop adults from entering platforms designed for children. 


How is Yoti’s technology improving online safety?

This year, Instagram introduced our facial age estimation technology to verify the age of users who attempt to change their date of birth from under 18 to 18 or over. This way, Instagram can make sure both teens and adults are in an age-appropriate experience. The technology was first introduced in the US and is now in the UK, Europe, Brazil and India. 

Yubo, the social network app for teens, is also using our facial age estimation technology to verify the age of all of those on their platform. With over 60 million users, Yubo understands the immense challenge of creating a safe environment for its community. The new age verification system reduces the risks of child abuse and other acts by preventing users who might misrepresent their age from joining Yubo. 

Age verification technology also strengthens age-gating on Yubo, which separates users into different communities based on age, limiting interaction between teens and adults. 

We’re also immensely proud to be working with Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). NSPCC’s Childline partnered with the IWF to create Report Remove, a tool to help young people report explicit images of themselves on the internet. To use the tool, a young person needs to prove they are under 18, and Yoti gives people a private and safe way to prove their age, without needing to show ID documents or share personal data. 


What’s next?

The time for action is now. Businesses, regulators and parents all know that more needs to be done, so we’re proud to be playing our part and will continue to do so to ensure that the internet is a better place to be.