SnapChat ~ Be aware of new facility.

26th June 2017

Snapchat is a mobile app available for iOS and Android that allows users to send messages to each other. Messages may be sent as plain text, photos, or videos. Photos and videos sent via Snapchat can only be viewed once (or twice with the optional "replay" feature), while text messages disappear after a few minutes.

In order to share your "snaps" with other users, you must first add them to your friend list; however a user with open security settings can receive “snaps” from anyone. You can add friends by their username, from your Address Book, by their Snapcode (a personalized icon), or by searching for nearby Snapchat users. Once you have added friends to your list, you can send and receive snaps from them. Snapchat also includes a "Story" feature which allows you to add snaps to your personalized story. These snaps can be viewed by your friends for a period of 24 hours. So instead of sending a photo or video to 20 of your friends, you can just add it to your Story and all of your friends can view it.

In the newest version of the service, users have the option to view a map which plots the location of their friends on a real life map, the locations provided on the app are accurate to approximately 5 metres. The location shown on the map is that of the last location the Snapchat application on the user’s phone was accessed.

A more interactive explanation is viewable at

The major concern is the number of Snapchat users who have a mixture of close and distant friends. With some distant friends the user may never have met in real life there is the obvious safeguarding concern should a complete stranger be able to view the location of a young person.

Advice to parents is to ask them to open their child’s Snapchat app, when in photo taking mode pinch the screen to open Snap Map, touch the settings cog and then ensure that they select “GHOST MODE” from the three available settings.  This will mean that their location will not be seen as location sharing will be turned off.