What parents should know about Snap Map

Snap Map is the newest feature on Snap Chat and it is creating a lot of chatter.

“The biggest safety concern here is that this app is geared towards young kids,” John Sancenito said.

Sancenito is the president of INA, a security consulting firm in Harrisburg. INA’s IT experts are keeping tabs on this type of technology and what people are allowing others to see.

“They are allowing themselves to be tracked and depending on the settings anyone can see it or just individuals who are in their friends network,” Sancenito said. “The real dilemma is that kids tend to have a very wide network and this allows them to be tracked and for people to know exactly where they are at any given time.”

If a user “opts in” the feature uses GPS location to track where a user is and how they are traveling, showing people in a car when the phone senses they are traveling at a certain speed. The map shows street names and identifies buildings.

The map also features “orbs” on the map indicating videos shared by other snap chatters who have public settings, which means you do not have to be friends with them to see what they are posting. The map shows where the videos were shared.

“I think parents need to pay attention if they know their kids are using this app,” Sancenito said. “Have a talk with their kids about the pros and cons of allowing themselves to be tracked by others and monitor what they are doing with this app on a regular basis.”

To find Snap Map, open the Snap Chat app and then pinch your fingers together on the screen and snap map will open.

The setting for the Snap Map feature defaults to “ghost mode,” which does not allow people to track your location. While in “ghost mode” you can still see where other people who have opted in are on the map.

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