A new map feature of the popular Snapchat photo-messaging app has some police and privacy advocates concerned that predators could use the app to get a dangerous amount of information about children.
Snap Maps allows users to display their location on a map and share it with select friends, by placing their avatar in a specific location on the map. However, on its lowest privacy settings, this feature is designed to broadcast your location – right down to the street you’re walking on or the building you might be in – to everyone on your friends list whenever you open the app.
In this Facebook Video, the Brockville Police shows you how you can watch a stranger’s video if that user has publicly uploaded it using Snapchat’s “Our Story” feature. They then explain that masking your location is a simple fix by clicking on your avatar or “bitmoji” on the Snap Map and switch to “ghost mode.” Please watch:
What Can Parents Do About the Snapchat Photo-Messaging App Map?
- Set your account and your childrens’ accounts to “ghost mode” so no one can access their location.
- Be aware of what your children are doing online and try out the apps beforehand.
- Advise your kids not to accept friend requests from anyone they don’t know in person.
- Discuss the potential dangers of giving out too much information online.
Related Tips & Resources:
How to create a safe digital world for your teen:
The following are a few tips from MediaSmarts about talking to your teen about harassing messages or requests that make them feel uncomfortable:
- Talk to your teen about healthy relationships and the importance of not feeling pressured into doing things they don’t want to do – such as taking explicit pictures of themselves. There are numerous other ways of showing someone how much you care, which don’t imply pressuring one’s partner to engage in risky behaviours.
- Tell your teen to talk to a trusted adult if they are being pressured or sexually harassed by anyone.
- Remind them that if they forward or post a sexually provocative picture they can be held legally responsible for their actions.
- Warn your teen that there are people online who target adolescents to engage in sexual conversations.
- Talk to them about why adults having sex or forming romantic relationships with underage adolescents is wrong.
- Help them recognize grooming tactics – does an online friend seem too perfect?
- Make it clear to them that if he or she wishes to meet a virtual friend in person, it must be in the presence of a trusted adult.
- Younger adolescents should share their instant messaging or social networking passwords with their parents. The parent should only access their accounts in the event of a problem.
- Tips and Advice for Kids on Online Privacy
- MediaSmarts’ Privacy Pirates: An Interactive Unit on Online Privacy (Ages 7-9)
- Internet Safety for Kids
- The video series The Parent Network: Social Media and Your Kids is designed to help you better communicate with your teens, understand common issues, identify any risks, and establish good online rules. Social media can be a great way for your teens to make and connect with friends, and these videos can help you support them as they explore the online world.