New Snapchat Update Leaves Parents Concerned – Here’s What to Know

There’s a new privacy policy update to Snapchat. For the majority of kids using Snapchat, the update will likely be seen, dismissed, and not actually read.

But this Snapchat update is an important one as it brings in a whole wealth of safety issues. 

This is the full private policy update: 

Privacy policy snapchat update

  • Snapchat has just launched Snapchat+, a collection of exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features available in Snapchat for a paid monthly subscription fee. 

  • In line with the launch of Snapchat+, Snapchat updated its privacy policy to reflect how the platform displays data for certain products; for example, how your recent locations may be shown to your friends on the Map when you’ve got location sharing turned on. 

  • Snapchat has also noted that they may share how close you are with your friends on Snapchat based on your interactions with them. These changes help clarify how Snapchat uses data for the new Snapchat+ features for example, Ghost Trails, and Solar System.

As Safe on Social reports on their Facebook page, one of the Snapchat updates involves “how they display data for certain products. For example, how recent locations may be shown on the Snap Map – literally showing where you sleep at night”. 

Through Precise Location, anyone can see exactly where they’ve been or are now. 

Snap chat update
Source: Facebook

What about the blue marks? 

These are heat maps – or maps that show you where recent activity took place.  You can click on them and zoom in to the precise location where the Snap was taken. We’re talking down to the exact address.

mum central
Source: Facebook

As Safe on Social explains, when she clicked one of the blue heat maps near her, she was taken to a Snap of a little boy (under the age of 13), dancing in his room. The Snap was most likely filmed by a parent. 

The takeaway here is simple – the new privacy policy update makes it even easier to track your exact location. However, Snapchat reached out to Mum Central to shed some more light on the privacy settings for Snap Map: 

  • On the Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default. A Snapchatter must opt-in to share their location. There is no option for users to share their location with anyone who is not already their friend.

  • When a Snapchatter uses Snap Map for the first time, they get a tutorial explaining how to opt-in to share their location, and how to share it either with specific friends or all friends. This setting can be updated at any time right from the Settings gear on the Map. 

  • If a Snapchatter chooses to share their location with all of their friends on Snapchat, we remind them of that choice periodically to make sure they are still comfortable with this.

Besties on Snap

There are a few more concerns about the privacy policy too, as Safe on Social points out. For example, how they will share how close you are with your friends on Snapchat based on your interactions with them. In other words? A new type of popularity contest, which, as we know, can be worrying for teens and their mental health. 

Safe on Social also points out that Snapchat may now communicate with users via SMS or, as Safe on Social puts it, “actively using phone numbers for marketing.” 

Get your head around it 

Safe on Social also shares a vital message for all parents. You don’t need to ‘ban’ Snapchat, but you do need to be aware of exactly what’s going on.

Many parents aren’t on Snapchat but their tweens and teens are and it’s important that keep you up to date on the ins and outs, even if you’re not active on the app. 

You need to get your head around it right now. Not to stop your kids from using it, but to teach them how to use it better, so you know what to do if something goes wrong. You gave them their devices, you allowed the apps. You effectively gave them the keys to the car and let them drive off down the highway with no lessons,” Safe on Social writes. 

If your kids are on Snapchat or any other social media platform, it’s a good idea to stay informed on what’s new. Safe on Social also offers tips for parents through a mailing list – you can sign up at 

More tips for Snapchat safety

Snapchat also has a few important tips for staying safe on Snap Chat. Remember, the minimum age for Snapchat is 13 years old, but I’ll be the first to admit I see kids MUCH younger than this posting to the platform. 

  • Choose a strong password and don’t share it 
  • Check your privacy settings to see who can send Snap, views Stories and see you location on Snap Map. This is important as the Snap Map now offers precise locations.

    To turn off the location, go to privacy settings.  Only the people you choose can see your location. You can choose to share your location with all your friends you’ve added back, just a group of select friends, or you can even turn on Ghost Mode when you want to go off the grid. 
mum central
Source: Facebook
  • Set up two-factor authentication to protect your account from being hacked
  • Friends only. Don’t accept requests from people you don’t know in real life.
  • Check who can view My Story. Make sure only friends or people they’ve added can see My Story. 
  • Finally, think before you send Snaps. Snaps are designed to delete by default (after 24 hours), but people that you send Snaps to can still take a screenshot or take a picture of the Snap with another device, so it’s a good idea to think before you share.

What to read next

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

Write A Comment