Today Snapchat has released a stalkerish feature which shows your location on a map to all of your Snapchat friends.
If you are a Snapchat user, or your kids are, you will need to get your settings sorted out on this immediately.
The feature pops up when you open the camera and use two fingers to squeeze inwards. It asks you to share your location in order to view the map. At this stage, either you turn away and say no, or, like most people…. you click yes. You then get the option to have your location shown to friends, everyone who follows you on Snapchat, or to be in ‘ghost’ mode so nobody can see it.
If you have quite a few friends that have done this already, then the map will show their little icons, where ever they are. For me, this was Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, and a few overseas. My immediate thought was, how accurate is this..?
I zoomed in on the icon of one friend, and it went straight to her house. (wow?!) I messaged her a screenshot of this, and asked if it was where she lived. She said yes but had no idea I could see this.
I then did the same thing, screenshotting and showing other friends that I can see where they live, where they are partying, or where they are holidaying, right down to the address. The majority of them had no idea, and think this is very creepy.
If you or your kids have Snapchat (which is very popular with school kids), you will want to talk to them immediately to make sure they understand the risks of showing where you live to your friends (in live time). Along with showing the places you go to throughout the day, or friends houses they go to etc.
The app only updates your location when you open the app, and if you don’t open it after a few hours, apparently your location fades off the map. This means that if you go to Mcdonalds and open Snapchat, your friends will be able to know that you are there. If you go to a friends house and open Snapchat, then they will be able to know your friends address. Would your friends be fine with you sharing their addresses to your Snapchat friends?
For children this can be very dangerous if they have their settings to show their location to ‘everyone’ which means anyone who has added them on Snapchat, even if they have not added them back.
If you don’t want people knowing where you live and the places you go to throughout the day, I recommend you stay in Ghost mode!
We all know privacy online isn’t really a thing anymore, but you can take steps to reduce how much private information you share.