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New Snapchat location feature prompts county's Children safeguarding board to issue warning | The Selebian
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New Snapchat location feature prompts county's Children safeguarding board to issue warning

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Concerns over a new feature being rolled out by popular mobile messing service have led to new advice being issued to schools and parents in the Selby area.

North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board raised concerns over 'SnapMaps', a new function being incorporated into SnapChat, a photo-messaging app popular with children and young people.

{module aside}The feature allows users to see the location of their Snapchat contacts on a real-time map and see location-based pictures and videos. 

SnapMap shows a user’s 'Bitmoji' (the user's personal avatar), pinpointed on a world map. Users can then zoom into the map to see the exact location of their friends.

The board warns that sharing locations could pose a risk to young people if people they don't know may be able to make contact or see what they have posted. 

North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Janet Sanderson, said: “It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time.

“Given how specific this new feature is on Snapchat - giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map - we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person.’’

There are three settings for sharing location on the map:

  • Ghost Mode - this means that you are the only person who can see your location on the map. You can still see the locations of your friends but they will be unable to see you. This setting will ensure that you have complete control over who knows your location.
  • My Friends - this means that all of your contacts on Snapchat can see your location. If turning on this setting, then it would be important for users to review their Snapchat contacts and also make sure that they never add someone they do not know in person to Snapchat.
  • Select Friends - this setting allows users to look through their friend list and then decide which of their friends they want to be able to view their location. This setting gives users the opportunity to control who can view their location.

Anyone who has concerns about an online experience or is looking for support can contact a number of organisations:

  • Children and young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111
  • The NSPCC provides advice and support to parents, carers and other adults and can be contacted on 0808 800 5000 or help@nspcc.org.uk
  • The Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP) and for young people, Think U Know

SnapChat points out that the new feature if set to 'off' by default, meaning users must opt-in to the service.

A spokesperson for the company said, "The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works."

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