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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

*SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT*: [OPINION] Parents Have a Right to Complain About Snapchat's "SnapMap" Feature


(photo credits: In this Friday 23 June 2017 photo, Snap Map lets users see the location of their Snapchat friends. (Photo by Eric Sykes/KMOV.com)

In response to my post about Snapchat’s new feature, “SnapMap”, I don’t personally use the mobile app all of the time. I mostly use the app during family gatherings, parties, special events. But even so, I know how powerful technology can be, especially in the hands of online predators.




J. Mitchell Vaterlaus, Kathryn Barnett, CesiaRoche, and Jimmy A. Young wrote in a research paper on Elsevier about how many users have Snapchat:



The Pew Research Center only recently began tracking the number of adult Snapchat users. Duggan indicated that 17% of adult smartphone owners use Snapchat. Among the adult population, young adults (18–29 years old) are the age group with the largest number (41%) of Snapchat users. 

Online predators know how congested the app is with young people, so they can hack someone’s account and lure their friends to a strange place and hurt them. The recipient may not know better that someone hacked their account, so they will follow where their friend is because they trust them. SnapMap can be dangerous to unsuspecting users, so I understand why parents would be concerned.

Most parents want to think that every new app feature is harmless fun for their children. They don’t want to take anything enjoyable from their kids, but they will do whatever it takes to keep their kids safe.

An article on Newstex Finance & Accounting Blogs explained parent’s fears about SnapMap:



One parent called the app "dangerous" while another said she could not find the setting to disable it, the BBC reported. Snap told the BBC that the location detection feature was designed to allow users find their friends to meet at places where they might get lost, such as a crowded festival. The company added that points of interest on the map, such as schools, were provided by third-party mapping service Mapbox. 

The app feature can be used safely, but it still possesses ways for parents to be concerned. If I were a parent and my child was to use the app, I would talk to them about what the app can do, both good and bad. Also, I would warn them of certain places not to use the feature because it can make them vulnerable for predators to find them. 
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