This article is a bit off-topic for me, having nothing to do with personal injury or car safety. The reason for it though, is because I found the latest Snapchat feature so dangerous, that I wanted to let others know about it. It’s could be dangerous to you, but especially to your children.
What is Snapchat?
Because Snapchat is used mostly by young adults, teens, and pre-teens I wanted to make sure my older readers know what it is. It is a mobile messaging application that lets users take videos and pictures that self-destruct after a few seconds (up to 10 seconds) of a person viewing them.
It can be a lot of fun because you can add a caption, doodle, or put a filter over it and then send the message, which is called a “snap”. You can also compose a 24-hour collection of all of your snaps and send it to the followers of your choice or to the entire world.
Snapchat’s latest app update
There has been a lot of buzz about Snapchat’s latest app update called “Snap Map”. Herein lays the danger. Users will now be able to track the location of the people they follow. At first it seems harmless. Friends get to see what their friends are doing so they can join them. Sounds OK except that ANYONE can see where you are.
It’s one of the reasons I don’t like the “Status Update” on Facebook, which is much more benign. On Facebook, the user uses free will to post where they are (what restaurant they are eating at, etc.). On Instagram it only shows where you were when you posted a particular picture.
On Snapchat, your location is available whether you want it to be or not. Not only is it an invasion of privacy to see where someone is or what he or she may be doing at any given time, but it is an open invitation for undesirables to find you or your children. Women and children are especially vulnerable.
As in Facebook, we all have friends we’ve agreed to follow or to follow us; however, most of us, for one reason or another, have followers we don’t know. Same is true on Snapchat. Unfortunately, there are a lot of crazies out there and they can target you through this app.
Are there any safeguards for the latest Snapchat app updates?
There are a few safeguards for the latest Snapchat app update, but they’re kind of iffy. The default position is “off”. In addition, a user can choose which of their friends can locate them through “optional plus”. Then there “ghost mode”. Users can hit the button to make sure their location is not available. However, if someone forgets that they the ghost mode open, they can find themselves targeted by a random person in their contacts.
In addition, teenagers are not always wise about their social media choices and what they share. One school in Staffordshire, U.K., has already issued a warning about the locating feature, cautioning that the app can “locate exactly where you are, which building you are in and exact whereabouts within the building.”
It all sounds very creepy and dangerous to me. You can spy on your mate, you can alert a follower that no one is home, and the tracking system can put children in danger of stalkers or kidnappers. Remember, that on average, over 90,000 people are missing in the USA at any time.
The world can be a frightening place. Please let’s not add to it. I share this information with you to alert you to this new potential danger. Talk to your kids. Do what you have to do to keep them safe. My hope is that the people at Snapchat will disable this feature.
Please re-post this article for those who could benefit from the information. Thank you.
For other areas of personal injury law, please see my other articles at http://blog.petermillerlaw.com.
If you have any questions about this article or any area of personal injury law, please refer to the contact info below.
The Law Offices of Peter Miller
1601 S. Broadway
Little Rock, AR 72206
The content of this blog was prepared by the Law Offices of Peter Miller, P.A. for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Law Office of Peter Miller, P.A. Attorney-client relationships can only be created by written contract.
Photo courtesy of Dondy Razon@flickr.com/creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/