Child Safety Warning: Snapchat Maps Update That Reveals Users’ Locations

Police forces have raised child safety concerns about a new Snapchat feature that reveals users’ locations amid fears it could expose children to potential predators.

Parents have been warned to turn off the “Snap Map”” feature on their children’s phones after Snapchat, which is a wildly popular messaging service among teenagers, introduced the location-sharing mode this week.

On the latest version of the app, “Snap Map” can be launched by pinching the Snapchat camera home screen. From here, users can choose to share their location with all friends, some of them or none of them with “ghost mode”, which hides their location but still pinpoints the location of other users, marking them with their Bitmoji character.

While the feature has been designed to help friends meet up or attend events together it has raised fears that it could be abused. Parents are being urged to make sure their children select “ghost mode”, and not the other two options.

The digital world is changing all the time and it’s vital to stay updated with how to keep your children safe online. For more tips on internet safety, click here

Are your foster kids at risk? New smartphone apps to watch out for

New apps come out almost every day, but how do you know which ones are suitable for children? Whereas some have age limits or are generally no-go zones, others are safe in themselves but get abused by trolls. It can be hard to tell.

Luckily, the West Midlands Police and Ofsted keep a list of over 100 apps to be aware of. You’ll find it in full at the end of the article, but first let’s take a look at a few trending now.

New apps to be aware of

Lovoo

This dating app uses the location of your child’s smartphone – and therefore your child – to search for nearby people to engage in private chats with. It also has a paid VIP option that lets users look at your profile anonymously so you don’t know if they’ve seen your photos and details. Definitely not for children.

Woozworld

Although it’s generally an innocent gaming app – letting your child fashion a character and do quests in a virtual world – Woozworld’s chat features could be abused by dishonest people. There’s no accountability as you only need a parent’s email address to sign up, and there’s no way of telling who strangers really are.

That being said, the game itself is fine for children. If you’re happy for them to play, advise them to only chat with people they know and to never give out any personal information. If strangers start talking to them, they should speak to you immediately.

Monkey

An app that lets you Facetime with randomly selected strangers, Monkey is by its nature risky business. There’s no telling what someone will be doing when their live video feed starts playing on your screen, so there’s no way of preventing inappropriate images.

In addition, because users can follow each other on SnapChat after connecting on Monkey, what starts as a random encounter could escalate with sustained contact. Another app that’s not for children.

A great app for parents: Gallery Guardian

Many children take inappropriate photos of themselves without thinking about the consequences. But with Gallery Guardian, an app that detects nudity in images, you’ll know if it ever happens.

If your child takes or is sent an explicit photo, or downloads one from the internet, an alert is sent to your smartphone so you can deal with the problem. The app has a 96% success rate so it’s well worth getting.

More apps that could cause problems

Don’t panic if you find a child using these apps, it could be perfectly harmless. Just make sure you look them up on Google to find out exactly what they involve. Search for: “Is [app name] suitable for my children?” Then talk to whoever’s using them so they understand the risks and the right way to behave.

Content sharing apps

4ChanDeviantArtDubsmashFoursquareHouse Party
KamStarKeekLive.lyLive.meMedium
Musical.lyMyMFBPeachPeriscopePheed
RedditRenrenSecret PianoSlingshotVimeo
VKWeiboWishboneYellow FriendsYouNow

Dating apps

BadooBlendrDownFuzzGaydar
GrindrGuy SpyHookedUpHornetHot or Not
HuggleMeetMeMeetupMyLOLSkout
SnogSwipe FlirtsTeenberTinderTwoo
W-matchWaplogZoosk

Gaming apps

Bin WeevilsBoom BeachClash of ClansClub PenguinDouble Dog
Habbo HotelMinecraftMiniclipMoshi MonstersMovieStarPlanet
RobloxRunescapeSecond LifeSteamTwitch
World of WarcraftWoozworldZgirls

Messaging apps

Ask.fmBattlenetBBMBurn NoteCake
Chat AvenueChatrouletteCurseCyber DustDischord
DisqusFMYLifeGroupMeICQInstaMessage
Kik MessengerKK FriendsLineLive ChatMeow Chat
MumbleOmegleooVooSayHiSend safe
SecretShoutoutSignalSnapchatStreamago
TangoTeamSpeakTelegramTigerTextVentrillo
ViberVoxerWeChatWhisperWickr
Yik YakZello PTTZobe