Security Concerns about Snap Maps
Suggestions to reduce the risk
How EOSMS have already addressed these issues before the feature was launched 🙂
Some information to make sure that you are well informed about security concerns raised over the past week regarding a new feature on the Snapchat App, called SNAP MAPS.
CONCERNS (some inaccurate) BEING RAISED ARE AS FOLLOWS:
- Updating your Snapchat App will automatically turn ON the ability for your friends to see your location.
- The location given is extremely accurate and may give the user’s exact location
- including an aerial view of the building, or where in a building, a user may be.
- Potential strangers can track your child using this feature.
We have investigated and tested the concerns and here is some accurate information, to set the record straight:
- Updating the app adds the feature, but does not allow others to see your emoji on the map, until you make a choice that allows this.
- Users will be guided to make a choice the first time they open the SNAP MAPS feature. They should choose ghost mode.
- They will NOT be guided to make a choice if they do not open the Snap Maps feature – in this instance they will need to go to the settings to make a choice.
- The location given is very accurate – so due consideration should be given to this.
- Strangers cannot see your location on the map (unless you post a STORY – more about this in a moment)
- The most you can allow is for your friends to see your location.
A feature that is significantly UNDER-REPORTED is that if a user has their security settings to allow “EVERYONE” to see their “STORIES”, these will be shown by a small blurry glow on the maps and when tapped the STORY will be able to be VIEWED BY ANYONE USING the Snapchat App.
***This could potentially be the most dangerous part of the feature if addressing the security settings to prevent this is missed, as it allows strangers to choose where they might visit if they see young people in accessible places.***
CONSIDERATIONS FOR EDUCATORS AND PARENTS:
- If students/children allow their “FRIENDS” to see their location:
- it will only take ONE POOR FRIEND CHOICE for them to be at risk using this feature;
- children may see groups of their friends at the same location, meaning there is the potential for feeling excluded from activities if they have not been invited
- Even if GHOST MODE is turned on, there is still the potential for risk if the student allows EVERYONE to see their “STORIES” or if they participate in EVENT or GROUP STORIES.
HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK:
- Choose GHOST MODE, when asked on first view of SNAP MAPS; or
- APPLY GHOST MODE through the security settings;
- Turn Your LOCATION off in your phone PRIVACY SETTINGS for Snapchat (as a back up!)
- Change your VIEW MY STORY settings to MY FRIENDS or CUSTOM, to ensure that strangers can’t see your stories on the map;
- Check your “friends” list and delete people you don’t know.
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO ADOPTERS OF OUR ONLINE COURSES:
The Eyes Open Social Media Safety Online Course that your students have already been tasked to complete, means that where they have applied the recommendations offered, their risk would already have been reduced in the following ways:
- Their location would have been turned off on the app
- As a back, up their location was turned off for the app, on the device they use to access the app
- Their “Stories” were secured to NOT BE VISIBLE publicly (ie set to friends only or custom);
- They were educated about PUBLICLY AVAILABLE EVENTS and GROUP Stories and the risks that these could pose; and
- They were educated strongly about the need to be friends with people they know and the risks of becoming Snapchat “friends” with strangers.
We are SUPER PROUD to say that our recommendations through our online courses, have proven to be invaluable PREVENTATIVE MEASURES for our students, before the launch of this potentially scary feature, on a very popular app.