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Schools issue Snapchat Map warning

SCHOOLS HAVE warned parents the new location-sharing feature in Snapchat could put children at risk.

Snap Map was launched on June 21 and lets people browse a map of photos and videos that have been shared publicly.

It also lets people share their exact location with their list of "friends" in the app.

Users who are sharing their location appear on the map as a cartoon avatar.

However while schools have voiced concerns on the feature, Snap – the company behind Snapchat – says the feature is opt-in and can be switched off at any time.

CONCERNS

Some schools have criticised the accuracy of the location-sharing feature, with one warning that it could be used to "build up a picture of home addresses, travel routes, schools and workplaces".

While location information is shared only with people on your "friends" list, that could include people you do not actually know, such as friends met on other apps and websites.

According to the BBC, others have criticised the way the map was added to Snapchat without a detailed announcement explaining exactly how it worked.

"We know tech companies are constantly developing their platforms and we'd encourage them to provide signposted information for parents and young people, so they know how to keep themselves safe," said Rose Bray from the NSPCC.

"Parents could be given a bit of warning, so they can look up the information before the new feature launches, and have a conversation with their child."

STATEMENT

In a statement to the BBC, Snap said: "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."

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.

It told the BBC 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.

OPT-OUT

Here's how to opt-out of Snap Map and hide your location:

- When in photo-taking mode, pinch the screen to open your Snap Map

- Tap the settings cog in the right-hand corner of the screen

- Tap Ghost Mode to switch off location sharing

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