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Snap Map & the Importance of Safety on Social Media

October 17th, 2017

By Sophie Shapiro, AWARE® Intern

“Snap Map” is the latest feature the popular app Snapchat has to offer to teens and young adults everywhere. However, this new way of socializing may appeal to predators or contribute to stalking behaviors. With one swipe you can access the whereabouts of your Snapchat friends and, should you choose to opt into this feature, they can see your location as well. That’s right! Your Snapchat friends can see your exact street address. 

The map also reveals who you’re with and when you’re on the go. With its risks outweighing its social benefits, Snap Map may pose a threat to teens’ safety and privacy.



 
Designed for purely social benefits, Snap Map lets users know their friends’ whereabouts at all times. Users can also post all the fun they’re having at specific locations on the map and view events worldwide.
 

The feature has been met with more criticism and concern than praise. According to Omnicore’s statistics, 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34, a younger demographic more vulnerable to stalking made much easier by Snap Map. For those in an unhealthy relationship, the feature has made it much easier for their abusive partners to track their whereabouts and keep tabs on who else they may be around.

Location features can be used on other social media platforms besides Snapchatt. Instagram and Facebook both allow users to tag their location in a post. Twitter also allows users to tag which city they are tweeting from. Everyone should be aware of how these location features can impact their privacy. Every app has a section on privacy settings that allow users to customize how much they want to share with others. 

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·        Review Privacy Settings: Most online accounts, not just on social media, let users choose what others can see. Check the privacy of status updates and profile information.

·        Minimize Use of Location Settings: The GPS in your phone could be sharing your location without you realizing it! Check your phone settings to disable location sharing on your apps.

·        Be Thoughtful about Connecting Social Media Accounts: Connecting accounts can make it easier to update them all in one action, but be conscious of how connecting accounts can make your account available to more people. Connecting accounts makes it harder secure your privacy.

·        Use Strong Passwords: Don’t use the same password on all accounts! Make sure passwords are not so personal that a friend could guess them. When possible, use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

·        Don’t Accept a Strangers’ Follow Request: Having more followers is not worth hindering your online safety! Think about who you want to see your photos and information before accepting any follow requests.

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or dating abuse, please contact JCADA for support on our confidential helpline: 1-877-88-JCADA(52232).


Sources:

https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/07/17/even_teenagers_are_creeped_out_by_snapchat_s_new_map_feature.html

https://www.techsafety.org/blog/2014/1/27/10-easy-steps-to-maximize-privacy

 
Posted by AWARE Team | Topic: Teens & Technology  | Category: Techonology

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AWARE® is dedicated to empowering teens and young adults with the skills and information they need to build healthy relationships.
Email: aware@awarenow.org • Office: 301.315.8040 • Confidential Helpline: 877.885.2232