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Heads Up, Dutchess: Police Warn Parents About New Snapchat Map

Snapchat has introduced a new feature that could pose a risk to teenagers.
Snapchat has introduced a new feature that could pose a risk to teenagers. Photo Credit: File

Law enforcement agencies are cautioning parents about a new feature on Snapchat, which may put teenagers at risk.

Nearly two months ago, Snapchat released its latest opt-in feature, the Snap Map, which allows users to see their followers’ whereabouts with a simple swipe of a finger. According to Snapchat officials, it allows friends to share their locations with each other so they can see “where they’re at and what’s going on around them.”

Users of the app can also search for locations such as a school, with the app displaying public photos and videos sent by students. An Omnicore study showed that approximately 45 percent of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 24.

According to the Clarkstown Police Department, which issued an alert to the community regarding Snap Map, “while this app is designed to help friends meet up, it can be a concern for the younger users who may not know everyone on their friends list. It is suggested to place the setting on ‘ghost mode,’ which does not share their location with anyone.”

Police note that the app can allow people to learn travel patterns, such as where one lives, where and when they go to school and how they spend their time. It can also allow a potential burglar know when a family isn’t home.

Anyone interested in putting their app in “ghost mode” can do so by opening the Snapchat app and pinching the screen while on the Snapchat camera. Then turn the “ghost mode” on.

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