The New Snapchat Update Has Parents in a Tizzy

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Picture source: Netsafe

Almost every few days, Snapchat rolls out a new fun filter for users to play around and click photos with. You could be a furry Koala one day, a ferocious looking gorilla or a cute puppy the next. It’s mostly harmless fun with your friends and those who follow you.

But the newest update to Snapchat has parents worried. Snap Map, the new addition to the App, lets friends and anyone who follows you see your location. “You can share your locations with each other so you can see where they’re at and what’s going on around them,” reads the official update.

It’s this sharing of location that has raised security concerns among parents.

The main concern is that once a story is shared in the ‘Our Story’ option in Snapchat, anyone anywhere can see the location of those in the story. It’s like everyone’s watching every step you take. It comes as little surprise that many concerned parents and adults have shown their dislike for the feature by posting views using the hashtag ‘stalking’ (#stalking).

Even though Snapchat recommends adult users, the App enjoys huge popularity among pre-teens and teenagers. According to a news site, parents have concerns that if children added a potential predator, bully, or other undesirable people to their friend list, they could be easily located.

“Given how specific this new feature is on Snapchat – giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map – we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person,” said child safety group Childnet International in a post on their site. It went on to issue a safety alert saying, “It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time.”

But in their defense, Snap Chat lists out that “only the people you choose can see your location — so if you’re friends with your boss, you can still keep your location on the down low during a ‘sick day’.”With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional.

How to be safe?

We live in unpredictable times. With social media penetration on the rise, especially among children, here are some safety guidelines you could get your child to keep in mind when using Snap Map, courtesy Internet safety website Webwise.ie:

  • Location setting: Consider using the Ghost Mode or selecting close friends, this will give you more control over who can see you. If you choose the Friends setting – Ensure you review your friend list. Do not share your location with people you do not know in real life.
  • Location-sharing services can give other users a clear picture of the places you regularly visit (home, school, etc.). Consider whether this is information you want to share with others.
  • If you choose to share a story using the ‘Our Story’ feature anyone can view that story regardless of what sharing setting you choose for Snap Map. Consider how much information you want people to see.

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