Online ID card for teens debuts

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A Scottish company has launched a virtual age and identity card designed to verify teenagers before they chat online.

Net-ID-me, released this week, allows internet users to exchange electronic ID cards before interacting online, according to the company website. The card displays a member's first name, age, gender and approximate location. The verification system is similar to the way passports are authenticated.

"The aim of Net-ID-me.com is to empower young people to protect themselves online," according to the company website. "A Net-ID helps to significantly reduce the risk off a young person being approached by an internet predator."

Registered users who meet online can ask to see each other's Net-IDs by exchanging usernames and signing on to the company's website. The annual subscription is $18.99 in the United States, although the service also is offered in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Each time a user checks the identification of someone whom they meet online, they are awarded points, which are redeemable for prizes such as music downloads, according to the company website.

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment today.

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