Parents may want to educate themselves on some new features on Snapchat and Instagram.
If your kids use the Snapchat app — and they probably do — they could be using a new feature launched June 21 called Snap Map, which includes a location-sharing option. If they opt into location sharing, then people they have accepted as friends on the app can see their exact location on a map while they have the app open.
Users aren’t visible to the public, only to people they have accepted as Snapchat friends. So the main concern for parents may be whether their children have accepted people they don’t know in real life. And teens may be doing that in their constant quest to amass followers, says Josh Ochs, a social media expert who runs online tutorials for parents at safesmartsocial.com. “The downside to every new feature that kids and parents don’t understand is there are hidden disadvantages to your privacy,” Ochs says.
Kids can opt to be invisible on Snap Map by turning on “ghost mode,” or they may allow specific friends to be able to see where they are — including their parents, which parents may like — or they can choose to let all of their accepted friends see them. Parents can check their child’s settings and look at “Who Can . . . See My Location” to find out what mode the child is in.
A new feature added to Instagram Direct in April essentially mimics what Snapchat already allows users to do: send and receive pictures and videos that disappear after a set amount of time. But as parents have likely learned — and should remind their children — nothing online is guaranteed to really disappear, Ochs says.
Instagram offers tips for parents in a guide at http://bit.ly/2u3okoZ.
Katherine Moran contributed to this story