Headlines > Warning: Snapchat’s latest feature could compromise your safety

Posted on July 11, 2017

Images courtesy of Patrik Nygren and Barnimages.com via Flickr. Montage created by Kishen Patel

Kishen Patel discusses the dangers of Snap Maps for teenagers
Snapchat has released a new feature in its latest update – a map that shares your location with everyone who you have added on Snapchat. However, police are now warning teens about the dangers of ‘Snap Maps’, and the damage it can cause to its youngest users.

Introduced on 21st June, ‘Snap Map’ allows users to share their location with anyone on their contact list. The Snap Map shows a user’s ‘Bitmoji’ (which is their cartoon avatar within Snapchat, designed by the user themselves), pinpointed on a world map. This allows users to see where their friends are, and what they were doing when they posted their most recent snaps.

Snapchat says this feature was introduced to give users, “a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends and get inspired to go on an adventure!”

Police are concerned that the Snap Maps could be taken advantage of by people with bad intentions (such as paedophiles), as they are able to access locations where they could harm children and teenagers.

Police are concerned that the Snap Maps could be taken advantage of by people with bad intentions

Younger users may not realise the dangers of adding people they do not know, which means they are under the most risk. Snapchat users are required to be at least 13 years of age to use it, but there are under 12s frequently signing up.

“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,” – Childnet International (Child safety group).

Police have been asking parents to set precautions for their children, such as switching into ‘ghost mode’, a setting that switches off location sharing while on. Another common precaution is to educate their children on never adding people they do not know, or even going as far as blocking them if they start to harass.

What I think
As an obsessive Snapchat user, I am slightly anxious that with the addition of Snap Maps, our safety is compromised. But then again, safety isn’t always the focus on social media. With good choices, and a sensible state of mind, you can stay as safe as possible. I never add people I don’t know, so my Snapchat consists of mostly my friends, and a few family members.

If you do decide to meet up with someone, never go alone, and always tell your parents where you are going. Remember, this world isn’t as good and pure as we would like it to be.

What do you think? Please comment below.

Kishen Patel
Kishen is a student at East Barnet School. While he’s not binge-watching several Netflix shows, at the same time (especially crime dramas), he can be found listening to music. He is also an avid photographer, and artist.

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