PARENTS ARE being warned to monitor their children's use of Snapchat after the company enabled a new feature that gives a real-time location of them and all their friends.
Snap Map was launched on 21 June and lets people browse photo and video on a map. More significantly it shows your "friends" (we'd probably call them "contacts") exact location, meaning it would be incredibly easy to build up a map of users' homes, schools and how they travel between.
The danger here is that word - friends. Although only ‘friends' can see you, there's now way of differentiating between real friends who are safe to talk to and randomers who you've met online, who suddenly can see you in the real world.
Parents and teachers are warning that this bridge between the digital and physical worlds could be dangerous and put children in serious danger.
There is also concern that the feature was rolled out without a proper announcement or explanation.
"We know tech companies are constantly developing their platforms and we'd encourage them to provide signposted information for parents and young people, so they know how to keep themselves safe," Rose Bray from the NSPCC told the BBC.
Snap assures parents that the service is opt-in only - it's off by default - but that doesn't mean that children have an understanding of the consequences nor does it give parents the right of veto.
"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," said Snapchat in a statement.
However, they haven't commented on the quiet launch, nor have they acknowledged that there is an issue, pointing out that the location data has to be accurate in order to let friends meet up.
Snapchat recently made headlines after it was revealed that NHS doctors were using the service to pass on scans, bypassing the aging computer systems.
On the plus side, it might make it easier to spot and ridicule idiots in those stupid sunglasses. µ
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