Almost every person around you has a smart-phone in their hand. In all the apps cluttering the typical smartphone, a few have become extremely popular especially among your children, one of which is Snapchat. Snapchat takes taking selfies to a whole new level by letting users send snaps to people added to their list or update it as part of a story. The fun is that it stays for only 24 hours and it even lets users know when someone takes a screenshot of their chat or of any of their snaps. Snapchat has come a long way, from bringing in all sorts of filters to allowing an option for Our Story. One recent update, however, seems to have become the center of attention since its introduction.
Snapchat launched a new feature last month called “Snap Maps”. Catchy name, right? But as a parent there are some things that you need to know about how it alters its users’ privacy: Snap Maps shares the smart-phone’s GPS location to geotag the user’s Our Story posts and enables them to see the locations of mutual friends using Snap Maps. So, you can easily see where all your friends are at. To make this work, the app collects GPD data every time the user logs in to their Snapchat account.
Teenagers and young adults have been readily using this app and availing its service to plan meet ups and hangouts, so if you’re feeling spontaneous, Snap Maps is there to help. However, parents and authorities have raised several concerns regarding this new update. Now why is that? What could possibly be the harm of letting your Mutual Friends know where you currently are while you’re testing out the new filters the app has to offer? Your children might not get it, but as a parent, you have good reason to worry.
The app posts users’ locations to their entire Mutual Friends list whether they know it or not, and this tiny little loop in privacy that’s worthy of concern. Users may inadvertently reveal their location information which can unintentionally facilitate potential stalkers or anyone else with dangerous intentions toward the user.
Snapchat, however, does state that the location is only temporarily available and is removed from the map if the user does not view their account in 8 hours. But to avoid the risk rather than wait for something bad to happen eventually before you learn, it’s advised to select Ghost Mode to disable location sharing.
We all know sometimes your kids might think you’re getting overprotective, but playing safe isn’t a sin. Share your valid concerns with your children and let them know to keep you updated when out with friends, and to avoid sharing direct information to unknown users through the app.
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