KidSwitch: identifying kids in apps and sites

Every day over 170,000 kids go online for the first time, mostly using an internet that was only ever designed for adults. So it’s very easy for kids to find the wrong content; or to look at the right content, but on a platform which wrongly assumes they’re adults. Historically the approach to this issue has been age-gating (asking a child to confirm they’re over 13), which makes everyone feel better but doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem.  

Today, we’re unveiling KidSwitch, a new piece of technology which automatically detects whether the user engaging with content is a child (or an adult) without the need for an age-gate. Once a child is detected, it can switch the app to ‘kid’ mode (privacy, turning off certain social features etc), or – if it deduces that the user is over 13 – leave the app in adult mode. It looks like this in action;

KidSwitch demonstration GIF

KidSwitch works by evaluating a number of signals in a content session (gesture patterns, content interaction, hardware inputs etc). At this point our kidtech tools are integrated into thousands of apps and sites, powering over 12b kid-safe digital transactions every month, from video playing to safe-advertising, safe social commenting and parent portals. That footprint gives us a unique understanding of how kids are engaging with content, which in turn powers the intelligence behind KidSwitch.

Our child-detection machine learning is in testing with some partners and we’ll be opening it up to more soon. So why are talking about it now? We feel this is an important conversation that needs to be heard beyond just the kids digital media ecosystem. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.