Is your Snapchat Safe?

If we're being honest, we all love a good selfie and we love being able to share what we're doing, as we do it. Which is why we love Snapchat - us and 158 million others, according to 2017 statistics. For those of you unsure as to what Snapchat is exactly, it's a popular app that allows you to send videos and pictures, both of which will disappear after a few seconds of a person viewing them.

Snapchat is also a fun messaging app. You can capture a photo or video with it, then add a caption/doodle/ filter/lens to it, and send the finished creation (called a snap) to a friend. Alternatively, you can add your snap to your "story", a 24-hour collection of all your snaps that’s broadcasted to the world or just your followers.

Sounds pretty harmless right? Not too long ago Snapchat released a new update with an added feature titled, 'Snap Map'. This allows users to see what their friends are doing and locate where they are on a map, anywhere in the world. In fact, you can pinpoint exactly where someone is by zooming in, down to the very street address.

At this point alarm bells should be going off in your head. While you can at least (and probably should!) keep this feature off by putting yourself on Ghost Mode, or even limiting your Snap Map scope to a few select friends, this feature is still slightly terrifying.

Besides the obvious safety implications, specifically to underaged Snapchat users who may be unaware of it's dangers, Snap Map can lead to trust issues between couples (hello relationship therapy) and a serious case of FOMO. No one wants to see just how many people are at that event that you decided not to go to.

Unfortunately we can't stop technology from evolving the same way we can't control the lack of rain in Cape Town at the moment. What you can do, and parents listen up; when it's time to make new updates to your applications, make sure you take the time to see what features have changed and which new features have been put in place. If you have your device set to automatically update apps as and when the updates are available, change it. Make sure you personally update your apps so that you are able to know when new features are now on your device.

We love our phones, we love our apps! But it's important to know what is going on in within your devices and of course, to keep yourself safe above all else.