Snapchat – Snap Maps

Big news for social media

Snap Maps have been all over the news recently, so it’s highly unlikely that you aren’t ware of it. The social media/networking/photo app Snapchat has released a new feature: Snap Map. This lets users share their exact location with anybody who has access to their user. Whilst this feature is restricted to only people on your friends list, it’s highly likely that many young children have ‘virtual friends’ in their lists – people that they’ve met through games or other sites. These strangers would then be able to access this location information.

Following location

The most significant concern about this feature is that it could easily help said “friends” build up a clear picture of where a young person lives, the school they attend, their usual “hang out” spots, and the journey they take to get to these places. This is a huge opportunity for teachers and parents to engage in a safeguarding discussion with young people and to remind them of the importance of only connecting with people they properly know and have met.

snap maps on snapchatOpt out of Snap Maps

It’s essential to note that you can opt out of Snap Maps. BBC Newsround released a short how-to guide, which we’ve borrowed below:

  • When in photo taking mode, pinch the screen to open your Snap Maps
  • Tap the settings cog in the right-hand corner of the screen
  • Turn ‘Ghost Mode’ on to switch off location sharing

Any photos or videos that get posted to the public ‘Our Story’ will be discoverable on the map.

Where to go next

For parents wanting additional help and advice regarding this issue, the NSPCC Net Aware and Share Aware campaign have some useful pointers. Visit www.net-aware.org.uk/news/snap-map/ to find out more. We also recommend that you take a look at the Safer Internet Centre’s article on SnapChat, this site is also full of great advice on other social networking apps.