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Legally, because of laws both stateside and international, we are now allowed to have users under the age of 13, without obtaining parental consent. To meet this need, we need an age gate to determine whether we ask our new user to obtain parental consent or not. I have considered 3 types of UI.

1)Birthdate (month-day-year, 3 individual drop-down menus) This is typical and conventions lean toward this, however, this tends to be very personal information and offends some users why we are asking for it.

2)Birthyear (year combobox of typing or drop-down menu) Still a similar issue to point one but to a lesser degree. We also may ask some 13-year-olds to get parental permission unnecessarily because of the date that they were born on/current time of year. So accuracy goes down.

3)Age Ranges (Buckets) in a drop-down menu (ie 0-5,6-12, 13-17, 18-21, 21+) This goes a little against convention but seems a little simpler. I'm not sure it just seems a little weird to me, and it seems like I'm asking for it so I can market to the new user which turns me off.

EDIT-new option
4)A simple text field that says "how old are you?" and the user enters a number in the box. I feel like this is simple enough, and doesn't ask for too much information, but it seems to go against conventions, and may require the user to switch between input methods (going from keyboard to mouse and back)

Any thoughts on age gates? Which of these work best, or is there another solution that I could consider?

Thanks for your help!

  • While this question is not an exact duplicate, my answer for it might be of use: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/112832/… – locationunknown Aug 30 '18 at 6:08
  • Do you have other age limits which may kick in at a future stage? For instance user must be 13, but some things change when they become 18. In that case, you want the full exact date to know when they do switch to the next bracket. Otherwise, just ask if they’re 13, no need for more (though of course every 12 year-old will say they are 13). – jcaron Aug 31 '18 at 12:33
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    An alternative is to ask for year, then if the year make it ambiguous whether they are 12 or 13, ask for the month, and if still needed, ask for the day. Possibly add a little bit of text to explain why you need the info. – jcaron Aug 31 '18 at 12:36
  • @jcaron I agree. I think that's actually what we're going to try to go with! – Casey Robinson Sep 4 '18 at 22:42
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I would go for the second option for multiple reasons:

  1. More private (they might not want to share the EXACT birthdate)

  2. Take a look at the user; let's say he / she is five years old. Yeah sure; he might be old enough to know his own age (so #3 would be the best option for him). But since he / she needs consent from a parent, they should already get help with the registration process and I would assume as a parent they would not like to share the exact day of birth of their son / daughter (see #1).

  3. Age range might be useless to you, and also a 17 year old might not feel like he / she is associating with 13 year olds and is in "the same league".

I would also want to point out that it's probably best only to show the "parental consent" if the user are within the same birthyear that turns 13 or is higher.

  • what are your thoughts on option 4, that I just posted in the edit? – Casey Robinson Jul 30 '18 at 16:22
  • Yeah sure; but if you want for example to show the year of birth sometime later down the line it would be problematic. I guess you want to have some form of income from this; an eight year old might not be as keen to paying as a 19 year old anyway and they know their birth year. – Muqito Jul 30 '18 at 16:25
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Another option could be to ask, "Are you at least 13?" with an associated checkbox.

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Upgrading a comment to an answer:

  • ask for year
  • if the year make it ambiguous whether they are 12 or 13, ask for the month
  • if still needed, ask for the day.

You probably want to add a little bit of text to explain why you need the info.

Of course, as others have stated, every 12-year old will say they are 13, but asking for an actual birth date rather than just "are you over 13?" makes it a tiny bit more difficult.

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