How dangerous is the latest Snapchat update?
Well-known smartphone app Snapchat is used by millions of people every day. Now with the app’s latest update, the locations of those millions of users can be seen throughout the world, causing a concern for parents on the Coast.
Thirteen-year-old Danielle Goff and Carlie Clark both took a shopping trip in Gulfport Tuesday afternoon. Their friends zoned in on exactly where they went, simply by checking Snapchat.
According to Snapchat Incorporated, the app is used by 158 million people every day. The latest update is called ‘snap maps.’ It’s a feature that allows users to share their location, an option the two eighth graders say they enjoy. “If you want to find out if your friend is at a restaurant and you want to meet them there, you can find out where it is,” said Carlie.
Some are concerned. ‘Snap maps’ also makes way for danger. Authorities say the new feature could help predators locate children and teens easier. Captain Harold Windom with Biloxi PD said, “Everybody wants to track your location. It’s great and wonderful when it’s your family, but they’re not the only ones out there.”
After you install the update, you just pinch the screen and it will show your location on a map. Gulfport resident Stephanie O’Neal has two young children and does not allow them to have or use Snapchat. “Especially under the age of 18, that maybe their parents aren’t even okay with them having it. It’s definitely something a parent needs to check on for sure.”
The mother of two is also an IT expert and she would advise parents who are thinking ‘snap maps’ may be a good option for keeping track of their children to consider one of the many safer alternatives out there. “There are other devices available that you can sew into your children’s shoe laces. You can put them in your backpacks. You can hide a GPS locator on your child.”
‘Snap maps’ does have an option called ‘ghost mode’ allowing users to hide where they are yet see others using the app. Authorities say the best way to protect yourself is to leave location services off on all devices.