London, July 6 (IANS) Schools in the UK have warned parents about popular social media app Snapchat’s new feature that can share locations and could put their children’s lives at risk, the media reported on Thursday.
Snap Map, launched in June, lets users share their exact location with people on their “friends” list in real time.
The feature allows the users to view the exact location — the area, town and street — where the friends were. If zoomed well, it could also show the house on the street layout.
Schools said that the map raised “serious safeguarding concerns” because children could be tracked on the map, and it could also be used to “build up a picture of home addresses, travel routes, schools and workplaces”, the BBC reported.
While location information is shared only with people on the “friends” list, concerns have been raised that users, particularly young children, may accept friend requests from friends of friends, and from people they meet online.
However, the company stressed that location sharing on Snap Map was off by default, was an opt-in feature and could be switched off at any time.
“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,” Snap, the company behind Snapchat said, in a statement to BBC.
It said that the feature had to be accurate so that friends could use it to find one another and meet up.
It added that “the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends”, unlike some social networks that are designed for people to discover and follow new friends.
According to another report, police departments all over the US have also issued a warning to parents as well as used their own social media accounts to spread awareness about the new update.