SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM)—Police are warning parents about a new feature on Snapchat. So many kids are using it, but now the new ‘Snap Map’ filter is raising some privacy and safety concerns.
‘Snap Map’ shows where your Snaps are being taken by pin pointing exactly where you are on a map once you share a story with friends.
When you’re on the Snap camera screen, you pinch to zoom the camera and a world map opens up, showing the location of your friends who appear as their bitmoji images. Once you press “next” it will give you three options: Ghost mode (meaning your location will stay private), friends or select friends.
“Honestly the Snapchat feature with the map thing, I don't think it's safe,” Snapchat user Kellsy Reireson said. “Even if I had kids at this age I would not want them to use it.”
The 24-year-old said she loves using Snapchat to keep up with her friends, but is wary about the new map feature.
“What you put on there people can find you,” Reireson said, “and that's how a lot of kids get kidnapped and stuff and you just don't want that to happen.”
Greenwood Police Chief William Dawson downloaded the app to understand the pros and cons of the Snapchat map himself.
“Obviously it's a good thing for parents you can see where your child is at all times,” he said, “but also on the other side of that, it can allow someone that's not good to see where your child is and be able to find them.”
According to Snapchat, it’s impossible to share your location with someone who’s not your friend if your account is not public. Still some parents, including Chief Dawson said this app makes kids vulnerable.
“It's just easy with some of these apps to do things that are going to get them in trouble, and this particular app is something I don't agree with my child having,” he said.
Stephanie Mitchem added, “I think it's an issue as far as your privacy. I just don't think it's a good idea.”
The map also includes what’s going on at popular venues, which has some users excited about the new feature.
“It's pretty cool,” said Nick Hamilton. “I guess it could give you some good information when you're travelling and stuff and you see where stuff is.”
Chief Dawson said the bottom line is to know what your kids are doing on social media and know who their friends are.
If you go under the settings menu, you can choose which friends can actually see your location.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Snap Map only updates your location in current time when you are using the app.