Monday, July 3, 2017

Parents advised to alert their children about the safety concerns of Snapchat's new feature Snap map

Snapchat just released a new feature called Snap map. Snap map plots users and their snaps onto a map so friends and other Snapchatters can see where they are and what they are doing online real time. 

The Snap Map shows a user’s Bitmoji, their cartoon avatar within Snapchat, pinpointed on a world map. Users can then zoom into the map to see the exact location of their friends.

As far as Snapchat is concerned, they see this new feature as as anew new way for friends to connect. According to them, “We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!”



But for many more people, there is the “stalker factor” as this is prone to abuse particularly for younger children who do not know the implication of constantly broadcasting your location.

NetImperative presents the privacy fear pertaining to this new feature:

The new feature has raised concerns among safety experts who fear it could be used to stalk or bully others.

“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 blogpost.

“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.”


ADVICE TO PARENTS

Discuss with your child or teen about this feature and its settings. There are three settings for sharing your location on the map, these are; Ghost mode, My Friends, and Select Friends.

Ghost Mode
Ghost Mode means that you are the only person who can see your location on the map.
Within Ghost Mode you can still see the locations of your friends but they will be unable to see you. This setting will ensure that you have complete control over who knows your location.

My Friends
My Friends means that all of your contacts on Snapchat can see your location. If turning on this setting then it would be important for users to review their Snapchat contacts and also make sure that they never add someone they don’t know in person onto Snapchat.

Select Friends
This setting allows users to look through their friend list and then decide which of their friends they want to be able to view their location. This setting gives users the opportunity to control who can view their location.

Here are the top tips as advised by Childnet.com
  • Sharing location can be a risky thing to do. Our tips for location sharing are:
  • Only share your location with people you know in person. Never share your location with strangers.
  • Don’t add contacts to Snapchat if you don’t know them in person.
  • Regularly review your settings 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.

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