LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Your kids' favorite social media app has a new hidden feature they might miss if you don't pay close attention. Snapchat’s new "Snap Map" allows people to see what you're up to and where you are.
The new feature of the once private app is freaking some people out as it broadcasts your exact location every time you open the app, whether or not you snap.
“The good thing about this new feature is that you can turn it off,” said Meaghan Milliron with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Communication and Marketing Department.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are all competing to be your favorite place to share your life with family and friends.
"Whatever social media you're using, it's important to treat it like its real life and to treat your safety and security the same,” said Lannie Byrd with Team SI, a digital marketing firm in Little Rock.
Until recently, Snapchat allowed users to share locations using geo-filters. Now, your whereabouts can be seen in a different way.
"I think it's a normal concern for parents to be afraid that strangers and other people can know exactly where their children and teenagers are at all hours of the day,” Milliron said.
But no worries, like other platforms, disabling the new feature on Snapchat is easy.
First, open the app on your phone like you’re about to make a snap. Instead of a selfie or memorable moment, pinch your fingers together and wait for the map to pop up.
If it's your first time using "Snap Map," the app will ask you who you want to see your location. You have three options; Ghost Mode, My Friends, or Select Friends.
If you don't get that prompt, select the icon in the top right corner of your phone screen and select Ghost Mode if you want your location to remain private. Now your friends and followers won’t be able to see your location.
“Snapchat is a social media app that people actually have higher expectations of privacy from because snaps disappear after 24 hours,” said Byrd.
"Snap Map "could be your worst friend if used irresponsibly. And with a large demographic of young users, social media professionals are urging parents to get involved in privacy and safety discussions.
"I have a 16-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son who both have phones," Byrd said.
As a parent it’s my responsibility to know what's going on and what they're doing on their phone.”
Although it may be appealing at first glance, make sure your privacy isn’t at risk before you use it.
“In a few years, it's going to be something totally different. Parents really need to pay attention to the news, talk to their other friends that may have children who are adults or that are older. Find out what they're up to as far as technology goes,” said Milliron.
And if that isn't enough privacy for you, visit Snapchat's privacy settings on your phone.
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