Snapchat Location Features Could Pinpoint Children, Teens

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WESLACO – Snapchat’s newest feature could inadvertently share your loved one’s location.

Social media is the way Rio Grande Valley resident Dina Sierra said she connects with her 16-year-old daughter.

"I like making sure of what she posts because everybody does see everything that goes on there. So, it's important to make sure what's being posted out," she said.

Like many teens, Sierra's daughter, Sophia, is on Snapchat. What she didn't know was that a new feature is sharing her exact location with all her friends - and for some it could even be visible to the public.

"Now knowing it, it kind of scares me,” Sierra said. “I really want her to turn that on when she does go out so I know where she's at, but maybe when she's home, not. Just being more aware of who’s looking and who’s her friend on social media."

Another parent we spoke with said deleting Snapchat is the best way to protect teens.

Sierra said you have to let them keep up with the times.

“They have to understand the responsibility that comes out whenever they post or are on social media,” the mother said.

Police said location mobile applications can be dangerous.

"Be careful what you are sharing and what apps you are using,” said Sgt. Bernie Garza with the Weslaco Police Department.

Garza told CHANNEL 5 NEWS tracking information is a goldmine for people with bad intentions.

“If they've already been looking at what you've been posting, they are going to know nobody's at the house,” he explained. “Guess what? When you get home, you might have already been burglarized or if they have other ill intent of doing harm to that individual, they will know where to find them and isolate them at some point."

Garza said it’s a warning that could change the way parents discuss social media with family. 

The location feature is easily disabled. All you have to do to disable the map feature by selecting “Ghost Mode.”

When in Ghost Mode, a location isn't shown to anyone else on the map. You can find more information about these location settings on Snapchat’s website. 

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