The Darker Sides of Social Media: SnapMaps


Recently the popular social media app, Snapchat, have updated their software to include a new feature called ‘SnapMaps’. But does this seemingly harmless feature have darker consequences? 

In the new update, users can zoom out and see a world map with the location of their fellow snapchat friends marked out on it by their own bitmoji (a feature where you can create an emoji figure of yourself). Users are able to see the exact location of their friends, even down to the street name, and what they happen to be doing at the time, such as listening to music, driving in a car etc and also view local snapchat stories in the area.

Many parents including television presenter and actress Nadia Sawalha, have taken to Facebook to express their distress and warn other parents of protecting their children’s privacy on social media and online by checking their location settings. The worry is that strangers may be able to see where users are located and track them down, the update allegedly has also led to friendship and relationship problems arising due to stalking, opportunities to exercise obsessive and controlling behaviour and accusations of cheating.

Is the modern day obsession to always stay connected with each other, slowly turning more and more invasive?

See Nadia’s video with her young daughter discussing the update here:

PARENT ALERT!!!! If your child uses Snapchat you MUST watch this. They've introduced a new feature SnapMaps and it's truly frightening what it does.Please SHARE and TAG any parents with kids who use Snapchat in the comments this to make sure people are educated about this!NADIA & KAYE UPDATE (4th July 2017)We cannot believe the response to this post – OVER 20 million views and counting. Snapchat have now issued a statement and we are very pleased to include it here…..”The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works. With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time. It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.” We will be posting a follow up film highlighting how to enable the Ghost settings on SnapChat and will be discussing the implications of SnapMap for youngsters and parents alike.

Posted by Nadia and Kaye on Sunday, 2 July 2017

More articles in The Darker Side of Social Media
  1. The Darker Side of Social Media: Blue Whale
  2. The Darker Sides of Social Media: SnapMaps
  3. The Darker Side of Social Media: Snapchat’s Race Problem
  4. The Darker Side of Social Media: The Lighter Side of Life
  5. The Darker Side of Social Media: Effects on Employability
  6. The Darker Side of Social Media: Cyberbullying
  7. Darker Side of Social Media: Internet Stalking
  8. The Darker Side of Social Media: Helping the Less Fortunate for Likes?
  9. The Dark Side of Social Media: Getting Real About Mental Health

Features Editor 2017/18, Sub-Editor 2018/2019, BA English Student.

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