Age Verification Is Coming for YouTube and Google Play

Age Verification Is Coming for YouTube and Google Play
Image: YouTube and Google Play

Google is adding some extra steps for Google Play and YouTube users to add age assurance to their accounts, meaning you’ll need to verify your age to watch some YouTube content or access some Google Play apps.

The international tech giant says this move has been informed by the Australian Online Safety Declaration.

YouTube and Google Play are filled with some pretty mature things. Unfortunately, if one is looking in the wrong places, NSFW, disturbing or illegal content could be accessed. Just like you might have been told when you were younger, the internet is filled with nasty things and not-so-great people. Not you though, I’m sure you’re great.

So, what’s Google doing about it this time? Well, Google is expanding what it calls “Age Assurance” to Australia, in which it’s taking extra steps to confirm the age of users on two of its services (Google Play and YouTube). If the user is under 18, said content will be made unavailable.

How does this work? ID checks

“As part of this process some Australian users may be asked to provide additional proof of age when attempting to watch mature content on YouTube or downloading content on Google Play,” the press release reads.

“If our systems are unable to establish that a viewer is above the age of 18, we will request that they provide a valid ID or credit card to verify their age.”

google play youtube licence
An age verification popup on YouTube. Image: Google

If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s not the first time Google has brought in something like this. Back in 2020, the company started to require age verification via an ID on some YouTube videos within European Union countries. Users were worried about the privacy aspect of this, considering that you’re providing your ID to a massive corporation. In line with Google’s privacy and security principles, you’ll be able to delete this identification from Google’s systems should you want to.

Last year in April, an Australian government proposal put forward that social media accounts should require proof of ID. This change on Google Play and YouTube continues a trend where politicians and big tech are trying to crack down on what content kids can access online. Perhaps one of the more discussed forms of this crackdown is the talk around verifying your age before accessing porn.

In the future, don’t be too surprised if you’re unable to access a video on YouTube or an app on the Google Play store without whipping out your licence to verify your age.

Google says this update will be rolled out “over the coming month”.