The NSPCC has issued a warning to children and parents in Brighton and Hove about the newest feature on the Snapchat photo-sharing app – a map pinpointing the user’s exact location.
The map feature has sparked a row about privacy, with widespread concern that the Snap Map could leave children vulnerable to grooming, stalking and bullying.
Campaigners have also warned that it could add to the dangers in abusive relationships because of the increased possibility of constant and precise monitoring.
The NSPCC said: “Last month the photo-sharing app released its new Snap Maps feature enabling 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 children’s charity added: “The feature also displays if the user is travelling in a car or listening to music.”
Brighton and Hove children have been warned that they should hide their location. The Snap Map is not automatically enabled and the NSPCC urges children not to turn it on.
If the function is already activated, location can be hidden once more by enabling Ghost Mode on the Snap Map screen within the Snapchat app.
Young people have also been cautioned to think carefully about who they allow to be on their Snapchat contact list and who they share messages and photos with.
Local police and schools have also chimed in to issue warnings to young people in Brighton and Hove.
The NSPCC is calling on the government to force social media platforms to guarantee that under-18s receive ‘safe accounts’ with the highest privacy settings.
The Evening Standard newspaper quoted Snapchat saying that the safety of the app’s users was “very important” to them and they wanted to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators “have accurate information about how the Snap Map works”.
The company said that the Snap Maps feature was not automatically enabled – it must be switched on.
In addition, Snapchat said that users could enable Ghost Mode to prevent their location from being shared.
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