Charlotte County Sheriff's Office warns parents about Snapchat's 'Snap Map'

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 13:52:02-04

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office is warning parents about a new addition to the Snapchat app -- the Snap Map.

The map shows you exact location when you're Snapchatting, and the sheriff's office says it could make your child an easy target for predators.

"It's easier for any type of predator out there to feed off of anyone when they know their location, and where they might be at, and what they're doing at that time," Lt. John Heck said.

To access the Snap Map, you open the map to the camera, pinch your screen, and you can see your location and your friends'.

"It's weird and stalkerish," 11-year-old Giselle Leon, who uses Snapchat, said.

"It's just another reason for people to be able to abduct kids and get to them before parents can get to them, and it's really scary," Robin Purnell, a parent, said. "Especially in this day and age."

Lt. Heck said it's crucial parents stay involved in their kids' technology.  "You're going to have kids that are a very young age on Snapchat, posting what they're doing, where they're at, and now you have people out there that can seek them out if they want to for any kind of criminal act they're looking for," he said. "Parents just need to be really involved with that phone, that tablet, that computer, have the password, and check it every once in awhile."

A Snapchat spokesperson says the location-sharing feature is off by default.  "Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time. It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.”

To turn off your location, go to "settings" in the Snapchat app and set your location to "ghostmode" -- only you will be able to see your location. There is also an option to set it so only your friends can see where you are.