Danger: If Your Kids Use Snapchat, Shut This Down NOW

--It’s been a weird week for social media and Big Tech.

The evidence keeps piling up in favor of Zuckerborg 2020. (More on that in a later episode. Stay tuned.)

(Dying) Twitter’s brand guidelines are now incredibly adamant its logo is NOT a bird.

“Do not use metaphorically to suggest a bird. It’s not a bird. It’s a symbol of Twitter.”

(I have no idea.)

And, of course, Google just fired a guy for expressing his opinions in a 10-page (so-called) viral “screed” — essentially proving his point. (There are, of course, nuances here we’ll discuss tomorrow, as this one deserves a stand-alone.)

AND, FINALLY, SNAPCHAT HAS GONE PSYCHOTIC!

Point blank, not going to sugarcoat this for you: Snapchat is making it VERY easy for potential neighborhood pedos to stalk your kids.

Anyone with kids knows Snapchat is incredibly popular.

According to a comScore report, 60% of U.S. 13- to 34-year-old smartphone users have Snapchat.

Which is what makes its new feature Snap Maps so incredibly dangerous.

The feature to target them all

Last June, Snap Maps went live. It’s lauded as a way for Snapchat users to find their friends in real life.

But it’s creepy.

It shows your friends when you’re asleep…

It shows them when you’re in a car or even a plane, and in what direction you’re going…

It also shows when a user is listening to music with headphones on and where…

If you’re not catching what I’m tossing out, let me spell it out for you…

SNAP MAPS IS A STALKER’S DREAM COME TRUE

All a stalker has to do is take a few cool pics, act like he’s someone he’s not — BOOM — 24/7 access to your kid’s whereabouts. Even when your kid is sleeping or walking through a secluded alley with headphones on.

What’s worse? The stalker can place himself on “Ghost Mode” so the victim can’t even see him coming.

We’d like to think teenagers are taking their privacy seriously on these apps — but let’s be honest. We’ve all been there.

We have to assume that every kid on Snapchat is dumb, short-sighted and incredibly naive. And then assume we’re probably more than half right.

Good News: It’s Easy to Turn Off.

OK. I know. This is crazy. But stop hyperventilating for a second and listen.

Here’s the good news: Snap Maps is an opt-in feature and it’s easy to opt-out. It takes effect when you update the app. The app then asks if you want to add it as a feature. You’ll get three choices of who can see you. Either a] all of your friends b] a few select friends or c] only you.

Chances are, your kid has set it to “all friends.” That’s the safest assumption.

But it’s easy to change. It can be changed in Snapchat’s settings. From there, you can customize who sees your child on the map.

Choosing “only me” is Ghost Mode. With this feature, you are invisible on the map — but you can see other people. (Which is what makes this feature so incredibly dangerous for kids.)

Even in Ghost Mode, though, Snapchat can still track your location and what you’re doing and with who.

If you want to shut down the whole shebang, there’s a way.

To turn that off, you’ll need to visit the phone settings,  go to the Snapchat app, click “location” and choose “never share.”

Stay safe,

Chris Campbell
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today

P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.

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