Snapchat is one of the top five social media platforms used by children and young adults today, so it is not surprising that people are becoming concerned with the new updates to the app. “Snap Map” is a new feature offered by Snapchat that shares a person’s exact location, the time they were there, and how fast they were traveling.
How the ‘Snap Map’ Feature Works
The way it works is once the update is installed on a user’s cellular device, the “Snap Map” feature will automatically default to ghost mode, which means that your location will not be shared until the settings are adjusted. Snapchat does allow each individual to adjust the app settings to the exact group of people they would like to have access to their “Snap Map.” Options include sharing your location with friends, select friends, or the public.
Why People Are Concerned
If it was that simple to hide your location, then there would not be as much concern as there is; however, when a person posts a snap to either the “My Story” or “Our Story” section of the app, their location is automatically shared regardless of whether their settings permit it or not. Clearly, it is alarming for a number of reasons including bullying, stalking, and predators.
In response to the backlash surrounding the update, Snapchat mentioned that locations cannot be accessed or shared if the device’s location settings are disabled; therefore, it should be simple to avoid unauthorized access to locations by turning those settings off. The problem is that most young people are not educated well enough on the technical aspect of the app to understand they need to change the settings. On the other hand, eSafety experts are concerned that disabling the location settings on a child’s mobile device will cause more problems because parents need to be able to access their child’s location at a moment’s notice.
How It Can Be Addressed
Due to the overwhelming amount of technological advancements happening every day, it is unfair to expect parents and other authority figures to keep up with the changes. It is also inevitable that young people are going to continue to use social media apps; therefore, the only logical solution would be to start educating them on the dangers of having an online presence.
Considering the significant shift to online education in school systems today, it seems appropriate that teachers begin to implement a social media awareness program into their everyday curriculum.