Are your kids on Snapchat? Talk to them about ‘Snap Maps’

(Snapchat)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – We may be used to the location filters available Snapchat, but the latest update might take it a step further.

Snapchat rolled out on June 21 its latest feature – “Snap Map” – an interactive map within the app that lets you see your friends’ exact locations, even down to the exact building they are in.

While the feature is designed to help friends meet up or attend events together, it has raised fears that it could be abused. A spokesperson for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said: “It’s worrying that Snapchat is allowing under 18s to broadcast their location on the app where it can potentially be accessed by everyone in their contact lists.

Police are urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of sharing their location on social media. The app automatically shares GPS shows where you are on a map to anyone who is on your friend’s list and posts can possibly be seen publically depending on your settings unless “ghost mode” is activated.

“It’s pretty accurate, the GPS location on your phone, especially when you’re on Wi-fi is very good,” said John McCulley, a senior web developer for Moxley Carmichael.

If you have downloaded the latest update from Snapchat, all you have to do is pinch the home screen and the map feature pops up, allowing you to spot your friends no matter where they are in the world.

John and Lisa Lin are constantly trying to stay up to date with their 13-year-old daughter’s social media. Now they have another piece of technology to keep an eye out for.

“I think that the location feature is a little bit dangerous,” said John Lin.

Lisa Lin adds, “You definitely always have that extra fear of people knowing where they are and who they’re with.”

Snapchat released a statement, that says it is not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on the app.

McCulley says this latest update is still concerning for teenagers taking photos and videos.

“Your kids could be telling people what’s in their home, where you’re located, down to a few feet. So you really want to make sure that’s turned off and blocked on their phone so they’re not giving out the location of them, the most important thing, or your valuables,” said McCulley.

Location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional according to the app company. Snapchat will ask if you want to share your location with all of your friends, a few friends or go completely off the map with ghost mode. If you opt-in though, your exact location, including streets and aerial building views will be broadcast to anyone on your friends list.

Lin said there are benefits and disadvantages to the new feature. “It’s nice for us parents because than be can see where she is too. But I think one of the most important things is to keep communication with your kids open.”

Lin’s daughter, Celia Bailey says she will be watching what she posts more closely now. “I probably would just turn my location off or make sure I don’t show too much of where I am.”

Snapchat’s age requirement is 13 or over, but younger children have been known to use the app. Experts recommend you talk with your children about the best practices on social media.

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