Parents in Gedling borough are being warned to make sure their children don’t broadcast their location on their smartphones following an update to the popular Snapchat app.
The NSPCC has issued the warning after the photo-sharing app released its new Snap Maps feature, which enables users to share their location with everyone on their Snapchat contacts list to such a precise degree that is possible to tell what part of a building a user is in.
The feature also displays if the user is travelling in a car or listening to music.
The charity believes Snap Maps could leave young users vulnerable to grooming, stalking, bullying, controlling behaviours or feeling excluded.
The NSPCC is encourages parents to ask their children to think about who is on their Snapchat contact list, and who they are sharing their location with.
They are also urging young people to hide their location using the ‘ghost mode’ setting, and has issued advice to parents. It is also calling on Government to force social networks to offer Safe Accounts to under 18s – with location settings switched off as default.
Research from Net Aware, the NSPCC’s online safety website, found that 36 per cent of young people had added someone online that they don’t know in the last six months.
It comes as police and schools around the country have issued warnings on using Snap Maps.
NSPCC Child Safety Online expert Rose Bray said: “Even limiting Snap Maps to the ‘friends only’ setting is risky if those contacts include people you don’t know.
“This highlights why it’s vital Government forces social networks to offer Safe Accounts to under 18s, with the highest privacy settings and location settings locked off.
“Young people can hide their location using Ghost Mode, which can be switched on from the Snap Maps screen.
“It’s important parents have regular conversations with young people about staying safe online, and making sure that they know how to protect their privacy.
How to turn on Snapchat’s ‘Ghost Mode’
‘Ghost mode’ is the name Snapchat gives to privacy.
Ghost mode lets you keep you location private but you will still be able to search around for your Snapchat friend’s location – if they decide to keep their location public.
Your location is not public to people who are not your friends on Snapchat, so be careful who you add as a mate on Snapchat.
To turn ‘Ghost Mode’ on, go to the Snap Map homepage and in the top right hand corner you will see a cog or the usual setting symbol, to change your location sharing setting then click on this.
Then switch on ‘Ghost Mode’.
You can see listed below are other options to customise your location sharing settings.
You can either make you location public to your Snapchat friends or you can selectively choose which friends should be able to see your whereabouts on Snapchat, and which friends you would rather not know about your location.