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eSafety: Snap Maps
Police issue child safety warning over ‘Snapchat maps’ update that reveals users’ locations
Police forces have raised child safety concerns about a new Snapchat feature that reveals users’ locations amid fears it could be used for stalking. Parents have been warned to turn off “Snap Maps” on their children’s phones after Snapchat introduced the location-sharing mode.
The feature displays a map of nearby friends, showing their latest location gathered using a smartphone’s GPS sensor. Users of the app can also search for locations such as individual schools, with the app displaying public photos and videos sent by students.
While the feature is designed to help friends meet up or attend events together it has raised fears that it could be abused. Preston Police said on its Facebook page:
“Obviously this may cause concern for certain users, particularly those who have young children who use the app.”
It allows under 18s to broadcast their location where it can potentially be accessed by everyone in their contact lists. With public accounts, this will include those who are not known to the user. Users can change the settings to a private mode that does not share their location with anyone.
The UK Safer Internet Centre said: “It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time. We would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person.”
Parents can turn the feature off on children’s phones by setting the app to “ghost mode”.
To hide your location, you can turn on ghost mode in Snap Map. To do this, pinch the screen when you are in selfie mode to bring up Snap Map. Then, click the settings icon in the top right hand corner and set the phone to “ghost mode”.
Then Snapchat will stop sharing your location.
Want more information?
Watch this 9 minute video to see how teens have reacted to Snap Maps: https://youtu.be/K2iG_k6wrGI
This advice has been produced by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) Education Working Group in collaboration with the Welsh Government and the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme (AWSLCP). The guidance aims to support schools, colleges and other educational settings in developing procedures to respond to incidents involving youth produced sexual imagery. It also signposts to resources and sources of support. This advice is non-statutory and should be read alongside the Welsh Governments statutory guidance Keeping Learners Safe.
The advice has been produced on behalf of the UKCCIS – a group of more than 200 organisations from across government, industry, law, academia and charity sectors, working in partnership to help keep children safe online.