Police concerned about Snapchat's new "Snap Map"
TRI-CITIES, Wash. —
Creepy is one way to describe a new feature on the popular app Snapchat.
Snap Map allows you to the see location of your friends in real time and it’s causing some to be concerned.
"I think it's useful sometimes when you're trying to find your friends, but I think it's also another way for bad people to find you,” says Snapchat user Tristen Berger.
It turns out it's the bad people that police are worried about and not just because of the pinpoint locations.
Another feature of the map allows Snapchat users the ability to watch other people's stories through the heat map, which shows you the location of where those Snaps were taken.
According to Snapchat, you have to send a Snap to the app’s “Our Stories” to have to be viewed by anyone around the world.
But Kennewick Police Department’s Officer Cory McGee says that could be bad news: "If you're inside of your residence and somebody sees what you have inside, they could try to target you."
The good news: Snap Map is optional and if someone doesn't want to use it in the first place, all they have to do is not enable it.
But with the new feature out, Officer McGee does have some advice for parents: talk to your kids.
"Just let them know what potentially could happen because this could put them in a situation, that things get put out there publicly that they don't want to go public."
While Berger likes Snapchat for its convenience, he doesn't embrace all of its features.
"I choose to go on Ghost because I don't want anyone that isn't my friend to find me or know where I live or where I'm at at given time."
Ghost Mode allows users to hide their location from other Snapchat users.
To make yourself invisible on the Snap Map, go to Settings and enable Ghost Mode.
After that, you can Snap in privacy.
In addition, the Richland Police Department is hosting a class for parents to keep kids safe online that will teach them what kind of apps are available to their child's phone, as well as their uses.
The class takes place at WSU-Tri Cities on July 19. It starts at 6:30 P.M.