Users of the popular social media app Snapchat need to be aware of a new feature: Snap Maps. This feature was added as a way for users to connect with their friends offline. However, what users may not realize is that they will need to opt out of this feature by switching to “Ghost Mode.” While the map may seem like a great idea, it raises some security concerns.
The first is that not everyone online is honest about their real identity. This is true of any social media platform. Someone claiming to be a fourteen year old high school student could very easily be in their forties with less-than-honorable intentions. If that person is on Snapchat, and is on your child’s friends list, they can now see exactly where that child is whether they’re at home, school or some other location.
Another security concern is for survivors and victims of abuse and/or stalking. Abusers and/or stalkers can see exactly where their victim is which could put their safety and peace of mind in jeopardy. The same also goes for online bullying. Bullies can now find their victims where they live, go to school and hang out.
In order to disable the feature, you can select “Ghost Mode” on the map’s initial walkthrough. To turn the location off if already enabled:
- Go to the map by zooming out of the main snap screen
- Tap on the gear icon
- Tap the slider button to turn on “Ghost Mode”
Snapchat has more information about safely using their app at https://www.snapchat.com/safety
If you have any questions regarding social media in general, please contact Sgt. Jesse Hambrick at 770-577-5106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.