I have a website that sells some services and products, including products with age restrictions, such as beer, cigarettes, etc. But it also sells other types of products that don't require age restrictions, like clothes, perfume, etc...

When users create an account, they need to provide a birthdate, filled manually with an input text with a format: dd/mm/yyyy, which I then convert to get their age and verify if they are allowed to buy certain products.

The question is, should I enable users to edit their birthdate/age? They might set up their account with an underage birthdate, let's say 15, and when they they to buy something with an age restriction, they might go back and change account details to bypass the restriction.

On the other hand, if they mistype the birthdate, they won't be able to correct that information.

In this case, what is the best approach?

  • 1
    I think you might want to check if this wont get you into legal trouble, most people's ages dont change suddenly when they attempt to buy alcohol. Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 6:48
  • @downrep_nation We have a strict terms, made by a lawyer's office to garante the truth on all information provided by the user and all other legal actions he may do in this case. But since it's a very delicated process, I want to prevent and alert the user the best possible way Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 11:40
  • In that case let me write an answer. Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 11:42
  • Can you create a simple chart of number of birthdays across a year? It should be a pretty even distribution. If not, you'd know many people have used a fake birthday and may wish to correct it.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 17:53
  • 2
    Rough to make a person delete their account or give up your service because you've forbidden them from correcting a typo. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 17:52

5 Answers 5


Allow users to update their age.

Why? Users can make a mistake during initial age entry. Users may also provide a fake age when initially registering with your site if they (1) were asked for personal information without understanding why, (2) didn't realize precision mattered beyond choosing a date over some age threshold like 18, or (3) before they decided to trust your site with that information.

Recommended UX:

  1. Allow users to access or shop for unrestricted items without providing an age.
  2. When a user takes the action to access or purchase restricted items, prompt the user with an age verification form that explains why your website needs the information and links to your privacy policy. Example: WordPress plug-in.*
  3. Provide a procedure for the user to update their age later.

* in step two some websites may require additional enhanced verification procedures. Relevant notes that may be useful in those situations are below under the heading "Enhanced Verification."

Some examples of age change procedures:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook (note the limit on change frequency)
  • Apple ID (note the increased restriction on choosing a younger age to prevent adults posing as minors)

Enhanced verification:

Enhanced age verification is appropriate when the consequences of a user providing the wrong age are so great that information collected from a user can't be trusted.

Some websites use credit cards to help verify user age, for example Microsoft incorporates a small credit card transaction into its age verification process. Other websites use a service like LexisNexis age verification. Finally, some websites like DraftKings, a fantasy sports site, require new accounts to be age verified with a complex set of personal information about a user (name, address, birth date, email, phone number) and make it clear additional information may be needed on a case-by-case basis. Considered by many to be a gambling site, this procedure might hint at an upper bound for what is necessary to limit liability.

  • My case don't need to be so restricted as the DraftKings example, or verify via credit card, because there are other payment types, such as "cash on delivery". When studying this topic, I noticed facebook login provide the user age, so I can use it easier, since it's already a service people feel confident providing this information. But I really liked the 'Recommended UX' and the tip on "change frequency". Putting everything together I think I can have a pretty solid system and not so tied where users can't change the info. What do you think? Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 21:14
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    Using Facebook is a great way to go as long as your users aren't likely to be embarrassed about what they're buying on your website. If it's possible they would be embarrassed by a purchase, then it's important to reassure them you won't post or share their purchases on Facebook. Ask for the absolute minimum Fb profile info you need and explain how it will be used. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 5:29
  • @CelsomTrindade The DraftKings example is definitely an extreme. I figured I'd add that info as "enhanced/extra" in case someone needs it in the future. It sounds like you're on track to have a solid approach. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 5:31
  • Yes, but the products we sell are just simple products such as beers, wines, etc.. Other products based on local law, but not that could be a problem to use Facebook. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 11:12
  • @CelsomTrindade I updated my answer to clarify the "enhanced verification" section is optional, but left it in so the answer is useful to more people who might read it. It sounds like for your situation you'd just skip that section of the answer. Does that help? Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 14:37

I think you should allow users to correct their age (date of birth, or whatever). Sometimes people create their accounts and they don't care about some stuff, or they don't want to give too much info about themselves (I'm one of those people :) ). And after they realise that it wasn't such a good idea, they would like to correct it to buy your goods.

On the other hand, young users can provide fake data to purchase your goods. If they are really determined, they can even make another account so you won't be able to determine if they're really adults.

You can do a popup to alert the user to confirm change of his date of birth, and you can always store his previous date in a hidden field of your database so you could check their previous settings.

  • If your website is only used for shopping then you can be sure that the intent of signing up was to buy products, therfor the argument of "Sometimes people create their accounts and they don't care about some kind of stuff" is irrelevant Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 11:53
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    Yes You are right, but some people are giving fake age, or a date of birth when they are creating their accounts, becouse of they privacy. And as You say if website is only used for shopping then people below required age will put fake date anyway, just to make sure that they will be able to buy those things that require 18 or 21 years.
    – bumerang
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 16:45
  • they can put a fake age, but his website shouldnt be a platform that encourages that Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 16:46
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    I agree with bumerang; I routinely use an incorrect date of birth when signing up to things. On odd occasions I've had to correct it later.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 14:20

You should

My friend had a problem, that he accidentally mis-set his age. Then, he couldn't change it, and because it was a kind-of age oriented service, and he stopped using it. I don't really remember, but it might be Steam or Origin.

So you really should enable people to change them age, such as sex and name.

There are transgender people out there. And also, people who don't like their name, and they change it.


Absolutely not

Here's why:

Generally, a persons name,brithdate,sex and other permanent individual criteria do not change.

If your website is trying to restrict underage people to purchase items that they arent allowed to purchase by law, it would be irresponsible to let them change their age whenever they feel like it since this is pretty much one of the only reasons why you would want to care about a persons age.

What you are describing is like a shopkeeper selling alcohol to a kid because he proclaims he is 30 years old.

Nobody can proclaim their birthdate is too much identifying of information to be given out to an online retailer but their name and shipping address is not.

If anybody impulsively changes their date of birth, you know they were lying about it in the first place. and do you really want to ship products to people which faked their age? what else might they have not correctly told you about? thats just food for thought

UX Wise:

You shouldn't give an option to your users to arbitrarily change their age because it just doesnt make sense.

As long as while signing up they are aware that age and other parameters cannot be changed, and they confirm their age to prevent "accidents" you dont need to provide users a platform to fool your website, thats counter productive to what you were initially trying to achieve.

  • 1
    Just for laugh: now days sex can not be used as 'permanent individual criteria'
    – bumerang
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 16:51
  • i knew i would trigger someone. no. biological sex doesn't change. gender maybe. but that's up to you to decide if you want to support that in your website or not Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 16:52
  • Name changes are quite frequent in many countries, including the US. Birthdates sometimes change because of an error in recording or a mistake while signing up. Legal sex markers change due to court orders, declarations, and errors when recording a birth certificate.
    – artemist
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 19:24

You should not allow Users to change their Age or birth dates for one another reason apart from all those mentioned above

If in the near future, you decide to provide some treat like (discounts/coupons etc) when your service is used on Users Birthday. Editing the age or birth date maybe misused for getting those discount deals.

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