New launch: BIK age assurance self-assessment tool for digital service providers

The internet offers children and young people many empowering opportunities for personal growth, learning, and social exchange. However, along with these great benefits can come certain risks, including children facing content or services that may be harmful to them.

Date 2024-05-11 Author BIK Team Section awareness, industry, policy, research Topic advertising/commercialism, media literacy/education, potentially harmful content, technical settings Audience media specialist, organisations and industry, research, policy and decision makers
Two female BIK characters consulting books and a mobile device. A globe in the background

Age assurance is one solution that can be used to keep children safe from online risks. In recent years, research has been undertaken to investigate and analyse different measures for age assurance online. As part of comprehensive EU efforts, as enshrined in the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Kids+ (the BIK+ strategy), the European Commission recently published a research report, Mapping age assurance typologies and requirements, that examines various types of age assurance and outlines ten essential requirements to consider when implementing age assurance tools.

However, effective implementation of age assurance remains a complex endeavour. Since any approach must be case- and context-sensitive, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. So far, there are few practical guidelines to determine whether age assurance is a proportionate measure, and how best it can be implemented to put the rights and interests of children and young people first.

Among the EU's comprehensive efforts concerning age verification under the Digital Services Act (DSA), the European Commission's Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (Connect) hosted the first meeting of the Task Force on Age Verification under the Digital Services Act (DSA) on January 2024. With this Task Force, the Commission launched a proof-of-concept pilot on using the EU Digital Identity Wallet for age-verification 18+ with six Member States so far. The results of this project are expected in the autumn.

To support and expand the implementation of proportionate age assurance methods, building on the EC’s latest research report, the Better Internet for Kids initiative is launching a self-assessment guide, the BIK age assurance self-assessment tool (and corresponding questionnaire), helping digital service providers to critically reflect on their digital services and how these may intersect with the protection of children and young people online. It offers practical guidance to digital services providers throughout the self-assessment process, providing relevant questions about age assurance to attain a robust and critically reflected decision-making process regarding the protection of minors online.

This self-assessment tool is provided as guidance and not as a legal compliance mechanism, including compliance under the AVMSD, DSA, or GDPR. It should be used in a context-specific in relation to the particularities associated with a given digital service.

Digital service providers are strongly advised to complement this self-assessment tool with other assessments, and in connection with their own legal assessment of compliance with their various (legal) obligations in this context. 

Download the self-assessment tool manual and questionnaire here.

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