Here's What Parents Need to Know About Snap Maps

Is your child sharing his or her exact location on Snapchat without even knowing it? Don't worry—there's a way to turn the feature off.

If your kids are on Snapchat, you've probably heard by now about the new map update the makers of the app rolled out last week. It's call Snap Map, and it basically lets you see the exact location of your other friends who are using the app.

snap map

Whoa—so stalker-y! Here's a great video where a 14-year-old—and who knows better than a 14-year-old?—breaks the whole thing down:

Pretty crazy! No surprise that parents have been freaking out ever since this thing was introduced, prompting Snapchat to issue the following statement: "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. With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time."

Good to know. However, when I just opened the app on my phone to double check that the location-sharing feature—aka "Ghost mode"—was, in fact, turned off by default, here's what I found:

ghost mode

Hmmm. Luckily, enabling it is pretty easy—open up the Snapchat camera, zoom in by pinching the screen until the map appears, tap the settings button in the top right corner, and then move the slider over to Ghost mode. Voila! Now you're invisible.

So does the quick fix to turn off location-sharing mean we're all making much ado about nothing? Perhaps. But this is probably a good time for all of us grown-ups to get fully schooled in the ins and out of Snapchat—and then sit down and have a chat with our kids about what they do on social media, who they share their location with, and ways they can keep themselves safe.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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