Online Safety Concerns for Snapchat feature
Concerns have been raised after the launch of the new snapchat feature which reveals the users exact location. With Snapchat being one of the top five social media platforms used by children and young people, child safety groups have been highlighting how worried they are.
This new feature is called Snap Map and will share the users exact location on a map, the time of day that they were there and even their speed of travel. Experts have said that although this could be really appealing to users under 18, the feature was extremely concerning and created an increased risk for children to be exposed to bullying, stalking and strangers.
With the feature, which is different to other social media platforms, is that the users location can automatically update on Snap Map as soon as the Snapchat app is open which creates the potential to share home and school addresses.
How it works
The app defaults to “ghost" mode after the update, which then hides the user's location on the map, which is unless the user chooses to share with friends or selected friends. Worryingly, 'Snaps' submitted to the 'Our Story' feature appear on the map regardless of the user's privacy or location settings.
The user's location is updated only when the app is open and even if the user is walling or driving and heat spots shown on the map indicate the level of 'Snap' activity in that area.
Main concerns are that kids could turn on the feature without understanding the risks and be exposed to threats, with recommendations that parents need to have discussions about settings and how important they are and how they can be protective.