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Safety Concerns For Snapchat's New Snap Map Feature

Although location sharing is off by default, there are still concerns for young and vulnerable users of Snapchat that may not understand the implications of having this turned on. For further help and support, please follow the links at the end of this article.

A new tracking feature on the popular social media app, Snapchat, has raised serious safety concerns, particularly for young and vulnerable users. The new feature called Snap Map, allows users to let friends see their exact location, the time of day they were there and their speed of travel. Child safety organizations and police have been issuing warnings to schools and parents regarding the Snapchat update and have also asked that parents talk to their children about tracking apps they may be using. The main concerns are young and vulnerable users sharing their locations with other users, enabling someone to track their movements.

The new Snapchat feature, once updated, broadcasts your location to friends and contacts. Users should learn about turning the feature off/on through their location settings  – unless they want all their friends and contacts knowing where they are – all the time!

“The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works. 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.”

Spokesperson, Snapchat

If you’ve updated Snap Map and you want to disable the tracking feature you can select ‘Ghost Mode’ during the introductory section or if you have installed and activated the feature and want to turn it off, use the settings gear in the top right of the screen while in map mode and select ‘Ghost Mode’.

If you want to ensure that no tracking feature is operating on your device then you can simply turn off all location tracking in the settings on your phone or tablet.

“Keeping young and vulnerable people safe and aware of the risks online is an ongoing challenge for parents and carers. Technologies are often open to abuse so it is imperative that users learn how to enjoy them safely. We would recommend using this development as an opportunity to open dialogue with young and vulnerable Snapchat users around the subjects of policy, safety and security settings.”

Iain Alexander, Head of Engagement – The Cybersmile Foundation

Location tracking is not new in technology and is used commonly within many apps and platforms – even including programs designed for child safety and wellbeing.

If you or anyone you know are affected by abuse online we can help! Visit our Cyberbullying and Digital Abuse Help Center for information, or check out our Total Access Support section to find out about the various ways we can help you with your particular problem. For more information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the options below.

Have you used the new feature? Tweet us @CybersmileHQ.