Play Verto research: young people’s attitudes towards facial age estimation

profile picture Yoti 3 min read
Mum and daughter using smartphone together

We joined forces with the team at Play Verto for an exciting piece of research to understand what young people thought about facial age estimation technology.

Facial age estimation accurately estimates a person’s age based on a selfie. We built it to give everyone a secure way to prove their age without sharing their name or an ID document.

The technology can help businesses to create age-appropriate experiences. It can prevent kids from accessing age-restricted content and platforms, and prevent adults from entering platforms for children and engaging with a younger demographic.

The results

Play Verto reached out to parents and teachers of children between the ages of 9 to 14, to gain their consent to allow the children to take part in the research.

  • Of the 247 children who participated, 2 in 5 claim to have lied about their age online either sometimes, or frequently. 10.5% expressed doing it on a regular basis.
    This demonstrates why better age verification is needed, and the role this can play in protecting young people online.
  • 50% were curious about how the technology estimates their age.
  • Over four fifths (84.6%) of children said they do understand why websites check age.
  • In regards to facial age estimation, 67.5% understood what the selfie was for and how it would be used.
  • 88.3% said they found the instructions to use facial age estimation easy to understand.

It’s very encouraging that despite facial age estimation being new, 62% of children said they were either likely or very likely to use it again. In most cases they found the technology easy to use and understand, and 50% were curious to understand how it could estimate their age.

Even though they were not the intended respondents of the research, a number of parents decided to answer the questions on facial age estimation. In the interests of transparency we’ve included these results too.

  • Of the 126 adults, 92.1% said the instructions to use facial age estimation were easy to understand.
  • The vast majority (90.5%) said they understood what the selfie was for and how it would be used.
    16% did not want to have their selfie taken.

    • We acknowledge that more needs to be done to reassure those who are unsure about this part of facial age estimation.


“We concluded that there is a need for accurate age estimation technology to become amply used on the internet to protect young children from accessing inappropriate material for their age. There was some hesitation from a small percentage of adults about having their selfie taken. We advise Yoti to reassure individuals that as soon as their age has been estimated, their selfie is deleted. We feel it is also important to educate parents, guardians and caregivers about the benefits of facial age estimation and the important role it can play in protecting children online.” Michael Sani, CEO Play Verto.

“Some well known, global brands are using our facial age estimation to help provide age appropriate experiences online, to ensure young people cannot access 18+ content, and to provide parental consent on behalf of children. As this latest research with Play Verto shows, both young people and adults find facial age estimation easy to use and understand. It is the private, safe and easy way to prove your age.” Julie Dawson, Director of Regulation and Policy at Yoti.

If you would like to learn more about age estimation, you can read our FAQs or feel free to get in touch.