Dear Parent/Carer

It has been brought to our attention that Snapchat has released an update yesterday and it has added a map feature that lets the user share their current location. While it is not the first app to offer a location sharing service it is a popular app with young people and we felt it was important to inform parents. The update is a concern because the user's location is available to “friends” (and other users) on a map and this updates when the app is being used. Used correctly this should not be an concern but students and parents need to be aware of the potential issues and how to avoid them.

We regularly express to students the importance of not adding people that they do not know. However, we know that this does not stop all young people and this can lead to very serious consequences. You may remember in 2015, with the support of Kayleigh’s family, Leicestershire Police made a film about aspects of the last two weeks of her life. Kayleigh’s Love Story is as a warning to young people, both girls and boys, about the dangers of speaking to people they don’t know online. The film highlights just how quick and easy it can be for children to be groomed online without them or those around them knowing it is happening. This new service would allow young people to not only share posts and pictures with their online “friends” but now their location will also be shared.

You will be pleased to know that there are ways of limiting this new service.

The easiest and by far the safest way to stop the app from sharing your child’s location is to turn off location services for Snapchat in the location services setting of the phone. However, this will not be well-received as the method will also stop other in-app functions from working.

Snapchat have also offered several options to restrict the new service.

The first is “Ghost mode”. It is the safest of the in-app options. This means that no one will see your child’s location. They will still be able to use the map function to see other users from their friends list who have shared their location.

The second option allows the user to choose to share their location with some of their friends by selecting names from their friends list.

Both of these options can be found in Snapchat’s settings page.

We are urging parents to talk to their children about their use of the Snapchat app and the dangers of both adding people they do not know and sharing their location. If you require more information on Snapchat's latest update, a parents' guide to Snapchat or Kayleigh’s Love story you can find them by following the links below.

 

Regards

David Todd
Assistant Headteacher