Snapchat Update May Risk Your Safety

Snapchat has made a recent update to their app. The update could put you at risk.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Snapchat, the social media where you can send pictures and videos to your friends, released a new update that could potentially risk you or your child's safety.

The new update released last week allows users to see their friends location almost all of the time. The app updates your location each time you open Snapchat.

Millennials, like University of South Carolina Junior Rebecca Simonson, often use the app throughout the whole day.

"I use Snapchat about fifty times a day, if not more." said Simonson. "It's fun and it's a way to connect with friends. There's cool ways to talk to your friends."

Even parents have got a hold of the app like Simonson's mother, Tonya.

"It's funny when my husband is sleeping on the recliner and I'll take pictures of him using the filters and I'll send them to my kids because it gives them a laugh and it's pretty humorous," said Tonya Simonson.

But the new update for the popular social media app has both of them concerned.

"Nobody needs to know your location 24/7, even your friends don't need to know," said Rebecca Simonson.

"With having a son and a daughter in college, it does worry me a little bit, especially about my daughter. It's not like I want people to know where they are," said Tonya Simonson.

Some view the new location feature as a good thing because that means it'll be easy to find your friends if you're out and about and want to find them quicker.

Law enforcement just wants people to be prepared and educated about the potential danger.

"Now it could be a friend of yours (looking at your location) or it could be a family member but then again, it could be someone you don't know, who you think you know because you communicate with them," said Curtis Wilson with the Richland County Sherriff's Office. "Not everybody is who they say they are so you have to be careful in that aspect."

Another thing law enforcement wants is for parents to keep a close eye on what their kids are doing.

"We're trying to be proactive. We're also trying to educate people to this too so that their child doesn't become a victim because it's always that thing where we hear, "I never thought that this could happen.' Well it can," said Wilson.

So how do you turn off the location so people can't track where you are?

Here are the steps:

  1. Open up your Snapchat app and on the screen where you take the pictures, pinch your fingers on the screen to open up the map.
  2. Once the map loads, click on the gear icon on the top right hand corner of your screen.
  3. You have three different options to choose from to change the way you appear to other Snapchat users. First, is "Ghost Mode" where you won't appear on any of your friends maps. The second option is "My Friends" which will allow everyone on your friends list to see where you are. Lastly, you can choose "Select Friends" to pick friends that you trust to see where your location is.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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