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Age assurance trends and challenges – issues paper

Young person with a mobile device

Age assurance is an umbrella term covering technologies used to determine a user’s age. 

The methods used offer different levels of certainty. Some confirm a person’s actual age – often verified against an external source – while others give an age range or estimate to support an age-appropriate experience. 


In March 2023, the eSafety Commissioner presented the Australian Government with a Roadmap for Age Verification (the roadmap), which explored if and how a mandatory age verification mechanism or similar could practically be achieved in Australia. It was developed through extensive stakeholder consultation and supported by new research into young people’s attitudes towards online pornography and age assurance, and a detailed background report

The request to develop the roadmap formed part of the previous government’s response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report, ‘Protecting the age of innocence’. 

The Australian Government responded to the roadmap on 31 August, 2023. You can read the response on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communication and Arts website.

Our background report and summaries of our consultation process can be read on our website.

We have also developed this issues paper to distil, expand and update our previous work. The issues paper includes developments from March 2023 to June 2024.  

Opportunities and risks

Age assurance can be used online for a variety of reasons when it’s important to know a user’s age. This could be because the online content, environment or platform type is only appropriate for people of a certain age. For example, it helps ensure users are old enough to consent to their data being collected, or to access age-restricted content and experiences. Knowing a user’s age is also helpful for protecting them from harmful contact, such as limiting interactions between children and unknown adults.  

There are pros and cons for each of the different age assessment methods. These can vary depending on how services implement them and the context in which they are used.  

Age assurance technology should also be used with other complementary safety and educational measures.  

When platforms use age assurance, they should also make sure they have appropriate policies and practices in place to protect the rights of users, including their safety.  

Advice for users

Age-based safety and privacy settings, filters, and parental controls can be set up on devices to maximise online safety for everyone. They can allow parents and carers to monitor and set parameters around what their children see and do online, including blocking specific websites or apps, or filtering different types of content. eSafety has information for parents on setting up and using these features, including  

  • on your home wi-fi network
  • through using third-party software
  • in apps and programs, including social media platforms/networks, streaming services, web browsers and search engines
  • built into devices, including desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices, gaming consoles and smart TVs and smart home devices (such as Google Nest and Amazon Alexa).

Some services create specific experiences for certain age groups and apply stricter privacy and safety features for younger users. It is important that children’s accounts are set up with accurate ages to ensure these features are applied and work effectively.  

For information on age rules, policies and in-app controls and reporting for specific apps and services, see The eSafety Guide.

For parents and carers, it is important to support children in understanding the content they encounter online.  

Our young people and kids pages also have resources to explore.

Find out more

Further information about age assurance is provided in eSafety’s issues paper.  

Topics covered:

  • What is age assurance technology?
  • How can age assurance and complementary measures counter online harm?
  • Snapshot of current practice
  • Challenges and mitigations  
  • Policy context and the evolving environment  
  • eSafety’s legislative and regulatory remit 

Download a copy

Click on the file link to download the full issues paper.

Last updated: 01/07/2024