Snap Map: The new Snapchat feature: Could children be in danger?

Snapchat laucnhes location-sharing feature Snap Map

A new function in Snapchat has been released in a recent update :  Snap Map.  It has raised safety concerns among schools and parents. Should you be worried about your child’s safety?  Read the blog to find out more.

The new update to Snapchat allows people to search for places such as museums or schools. It then shows images that have been posted by users here, on a map, pinpointing exactly where they are.

Snapchat update

Schools have warned parents that this new Snapchat feature could put children in danger. Officials are concerned that Snap Map could make it easier for youngsters to be located. This makes them an easy target for those who want to prey on children and teenagers. It also allows people to see where their ‘friends’ are at any given time – this allows them to see where you live, for example.

The company behind Snapchat : Snap has told the BBC that location sharing is an opt-in feature. They said that accurate location information was necessary to allow friends to use the service to meet at a restaurant for example or crowded festival. They went on to say that points of interest on the map such as schools were provided by third-party mapping service Mapbox. “With Snap Map, location sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time,”

“It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.”a Snap spokesman told the BBC.

Schools warning

Park Primary School in Wallasey, Merseyside have warned parents about the dangers via a Facebook post. It said: ‘Snapchat has a brand new feature that you need to take not of!
‘Parents, make sure you read up on the new update and inform your children.’
‘Children can now share their exact location to all their friends on Snapchat.’

How to protect yourself

You can find out more information on Snapchats Privacy centre

But make sure you follow these tips:

  • You should only share your location with people you know in person, if at all. Never share your location with strangers.
  • Don’t add contacts to Snapchat if you don’t know them in person – this applies to ALL social media apps.
  • Regularly review your Snapchat settings (again, this applies to all social media apps) and take an active decision about whether you want people to know your location. Remember you can switch this off at any time. Think about where you’re sharing your location. Location services such as Snap Maps can lead people to your house. Think about what times you’re on the app and whether these are locations you want to share – if not, then turn this off within your settings.

If you want to turn off Snap Map location sharing then follow these steps:

  • When in photo-taking mode, pinch the screen to open Snap Map
  • Touch the settings cog in the top right corner of the screen
  • Tap “Ghost Mode” to switch off location sharing
  • Photos and videos posted to Snapchat’s public ‘Our Story’ will still be discoverable on the map