‘Meet Up’ is a new feature found in popular app Snapchat. This feature allows users to obtain directions to another user’s exact location and address. There are any number of reasons you may not want your child’s exact location to be tracked and there are some proactive steps you can take towards keeping the young people safe.
To help parents, carers, and safeguarding professionals, we have the following advice to address the possible risks this new feature.
To help you keep the young person in your care safe online, follow the advice below.
Talk about the culture behind online friendships. Remind them that they should only share personal details with friends who they trust and who they know in-person.
Keep location details private. Emphasise the importance of not sharing their location or personal details with strangers or someone they don’t know very well.
Remind them they can talk to you. Encourage them to tell you first if someone asks them to share their location, whether on Snapchat or any other app/platform.
Discuss location sharing features. Ask them why they might want to use a location sharing feature and what they believe its benefits are. It’s important not to interrupt, get frustrated or angry at their reasons as this may stop them from confiding in you if there’s something wrong (e.g. if they’re being pressured into sharing their location).
Turn on privacy settings. Learn how to do this together by downloading the app yourself. Ensure your young person knows how to turn on and use allow/block features.
Establish guidelines and rules. Check with how your young person is using Snapchat, and who they interact with. Knowing if they are likely to accept a friend request from a stranger is important, as some young people may not take issue with this.
Outline who they can talk to. Check that the young person in your care can identify their trusted adults if they ever experience anything on Snapchat that upsets or makes them feel worried.