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What Parents Need to Know About Snapchat

What Parents Need to Know About Snapchat

Most parents of today’s world would agree that their children’s’ favorite app is Snapchat. With more than 60 million daily active users only in the U.S. and Canada, this app has been a whole revolution for kids from ages 2 and up, teenagers, and why not say, for parents and adults in general. The app was born as a fun way to take photos and videos of yourself with many different filters, and to then share them. Since the photos and videos are kept just for a limited time, the idea was to enjoy the moment and not worry about the consequences. Simple enough. Yet the concept of not having to worry about what was recorded for more than a few minutes created a false sense of security.

In June 2017, Snapchat created a disturbing new feature known as Snap Map. The purpose of Snap Map is to make sharing locations easier for its users by systematically broadcasting their location every time they open the app, not just when the user posts on his or her Story. While sharing locations with friends might seem harmless, public accounts and public stories can be viewed by anyone on Snapchat. The idea of having your children constantly sharing their locations is of course terrifying for parents who care about online privacy and the safety of their kids.

Since the new location feature was launched, the business has grown for Snapchat. The company has seen 40 percent more Story submissions and it has been used in catastrophes like during  hurricane Harvey or during the Las Vegas shooting, making it even more popular at the expense of the privacy of its users.  Pedophiles and other criminals can use this information to their advantage.

Snap Map also works like a breaking news feed, letting you search around the world to see what people are doing in real time. In addition to showing where friends are, the map shows hot spots, or red areas where crowds are gathering. Why is this important? Because criminals could not only be stalking your children in particular, they can as well use it as a tool for terrorism! International private investigators have insisted on the dangers of sharing too much online, and it is important to continue educating people about the risks posed by emerging technologies.  Sharing online isn’t smart from a security standpoint, and experts know the more you share, the more at risk you are.

The risks are very serious and parents need to understand this very well in order to teach their children how to stay safe. The only way to prevent sharing location on Snapchat is by activating “Ghostmode”. To change Snap Map settings, users can click on Snap Map’s settings icon, or go to Snapchat’s general Settings Menu and select the “See My Location” tab.

Snapchat may appear to be a fun way to send silly photos to friends or capture daily memories. However, its policies give Snapchat’s developers the ability to share users’ locations and data. Social media users have the responsibility of protecting themselves and their personal information, and to learn privacy tips to block tracking and avoid scam. Dangerous features like Snap Map can cause a lot of damage to young people especially.  Users should be aware of social media’s impact on their privacy and must stop blindly joining online networks unless they fully understand the consequences.

C. Wright
© 2017 Wymoo International
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