‘Snap Maps’ App Feature Is Putting Kids At Risk
Parenting is no easy task. And the Digital Age introduces all new risks, such as the new ‘Snap Maps’ feature on the popular app SnapChat.
SnapChat is a social app that’s especially popular with the younger generation. But it’s parents and grandparents worst nightmare!
Part of what makes the app so appealing to kids (and so scary to adults) is that sent pictures and messages (called ‘Snaps’) generally disappear within seconds. This encourages some users to share inappropriate content without leaving a trace.
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Most parents have figured out the importance of monitoring children’s online activity. But how do you track a message that essentially self-destructs, just like in the spy shows?
Well, now there’s even more to worry about on SnapChat. The app recently rolled out a new featured called ‘Snap Maps.’ Using basic location tracking, the app puts the user’s emoji onto a map.
In other words, if your kid uses SnapChat, every time they send out a Snap, Snap Maps shows exactly where your kid is located, right down to the street!
"People can see where you are," WPTV internet security expert Alan Crowetz explains. "It’s a stalker’s delight. A pedophile would be all over something like this."
The good news is that the Snap Maps feature is optional. However, Alan Crowetz warns that lots of people don’t know this update was rolled out or what it does. And it must be manually turned off.
What To Do
Naturally, the safest course of action is to keep your kids off of SnapChat. But if, for whatever reason, that’s not an option, the Snap Maps feature can and should be turned off. Here’s how:
- Open SnapChat and go into the Snap Map
- Tap the ⚙️ button in the top-right corner of the Map screen
- Select ‘Ghost Mode’ to completely hide your location
Other ‘Snap Maps’ Settings
There are two other options under the Snap Map location settings: My Friends and Select Friends.
The ‘My Friends’ setting shows a user’s location to all of their mutual SnapChat friends, including any new friends they make in the future. The warning here is that kids using SnapChat may have befriended people they don’t actually know — people who could be pretending to be someone they are not.
The ‘Select Friends’ option allows the user to choose which friends can see their location. So, if using this setting, make sure your child only selects trusted friends. If you and your child don’t both know and trust the person in the real world, then they should not have access to your child’s location.
The Snap Maps feature is a perfect reminder that as parents, it’s our responsibility to stay educated on what’s out there. And we should always keep an open dialogue going with our children on how they should and shouldn’t be using technology.
"Have that talk with your children," Alex says. "A lot of parents don’t know what there is out there, and what they should be concerned about. Education is number one."
It’s up to us to teach our kids how to behave wisely, both on and offline. If you don’t know how an app or device works, do some research. You could even ask your kid to show you. And if an app makes you uncomfortable, then it’s probably best to keep your kid off of it. It might be an unpopular decision, but it could also be the one that keeps your kid safe!
WATCH: Security Experts Worried Over New ‘Snap Maps’ Feature
Please be sure to share this story with other parents and grandparents so they can make sure the kids they love are protected.
h/t: For Every Mom
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