Parents anxious of Snapchat's newest 'Snap Map' feature

Two friends laughing at something on a phone

The company announced Wednesday that once activated, Snap Map places a location Bitmoji on the new map feature for anyone on a user's friends list to see.

Users are able to pick whether they want to make their location visible to all of their friends, a select few, or nobody at all (a setting known as ghost mode).

The popular social media Snapchat recently launched a new feature that shares users' locations in real time. The goal behind the feature is to make it easier to find and communicate with friends, as well as check in on what other users are up to around the world.

Alice Blackman, online safety coordinator at St Michael's Primary School in Kingsteignton, said in a letter to parents: "If you know your child uses Snapchat, it would be worthwhile checking if they've updated, switching off the option and speaking to them about the risks involved".

"The most important thing a parent can do is talk to their child about the use of this feature and either encourage them not to use it all or encourage them to use it very cautiously, only with specific friends", Magid said.

But internet safety experts fear it could lead to stalking or bullying.

The feature "connects with Global Positioning System and automatically (unless activated ghost mode) shows where you are on a map to anyone who is on your friends list and posts can possibly seen publically depending on your settings!" Once users update the app, they will need to pinch the screen to open the new feature.

"Snapchat is used by so many young people in Ireland who may be "friends" with people they don't actually know in reality and who in most cases, have not set their accounts to private or hidden from public".

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