23 Jun 2017

Warning for children over location-sharing Snapchat update

10:55 pm on 23 June 2017

Netsafe says the new location sharing update on the popular social media app Snapchat can be dangerous for young people.

Snapchat,privacy, Snapchat

Snapchat says users can opt to turn off sharing their location. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

This week Snapchat announced its update called Snap Map which allows users to broadcast their location to their friends on the app.

On its website, the company says users can opt to turn off sharing their location and go in ghost mode.

But Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said parents needed to talk to children about this update because it posed a risk for young people.

"These services are a risk, they're a risk to child safety, but if you look at it more holistically they're a popular service, lots of people want to use them, including young people, so you're going to see more and more of them, that's just a reality of what's happening."

Mr Cocker said with location sharing apps becoming increasingly popular, it was not a matter of blocking them, but making sure they are used wisely.

A spokesperson for the police said young people should protect themselves by checking their privacy and security settings and not engaging with people they didn't know.

The spokesperson said if a young person was concerned about someone's online behaviour they should tell someone they trusted and if appropriate report it to police.

The minimum age for Snapchat users is 13 years old.

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