Snapchat’s Snap Map has been a feature of the app since the summer of 2017. Parents and users expressed concern about the dangers of Snap Map on Snapchat, including an invasion of privacy and the risks of location sharing. Still, the feature remains in use to this day. Now, a year and several updates later, here’s why the Snap Map feature on Snapchat can still be dangerous for your teen.
What is Snap Map?
Snap Map is a location sharing feature of Snapchat and automatically updates while you have Snapchat open. Its default setting is “Ghost Mode,” which prevents friends from seeing your location. However, some teens may turn it on to let their friends see their whereabouts. Besides location sharing, Snap Map also has an “Our Story” feature. When you click anywhere on the map, various public Snap stories taken in that location will pop up. All Snapchat users can post and view these stories, whether they’re friends or not. If your teen posts a story to the Our Story feature, anyone in the world can see their snap.
Send and Request
Snapchat has rolled out its newest location-sharing feature: Send and Request. Now, you can broadcast your location to select friends instead of all your Snapchat friends. Similar to Apple’s “Find My Friends,” the feature allows you to send your location or requests a friend’s. A map will then appear in the private conversation. This feature is only available for mutual friends and only works up to eight hours after the app was last opened.
Is it Safe?
The simplest answer is no. Snap Map allows you to see a person’s location down to the street name and building. The Our Story feature of Snap Map shows your teen’s stories to strangers across the globe as well. If a teen shares their location with a bully or a predator posing as a friend, the cost could be grave.
What Can You Do?
Talk to your teen about the risk Snap Map imposes. Teens need to understand what’s at stake if they make their stories public. They also need to know what’s at stake if they share their location with all of their Snapchat friends — especially with friends they may not know. The best way to ensure your teen is safe is by limiting location sharing. Outside of a few close friends and family, teens should avoid sharing their location at all.