BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Snapchat has become one of the most popular forms of social media among teenagers. Users are able to send photos with stickers and drawings, text bitmojis, and keep ‘Streaks’: A running tally of how many times you and another have snapped every twenty four hours. The best part about Snapchat is that everything sent erases. It is odd, however, that an app that prides itself on its disappearing messages allows users to publicize their location. On Snap Maps, users can access their friends’ locations, including how long they have been at that location. Unsurprisingly, snap maps have caused controversy.
Although high schoolers make up the largest demographic of Snapchat users, even high schoolers’ opinions of Snap Map vary. Governor Livingston freshman Ella Ferrigno said, “It’s a little scary but at the same time you can see where your friends are.” Fellow freshman Issy Jacovini also chooses to use Snap Maps, adding, “It’s useful to know if your boyfriend is ignoring you.” Ferrigno and Jacovini, like many others, choose to ignore their instincts and continue to use snap maps.
Sophomore Naomi Brogden chooses a different approach. She exclaimed, “It’s an invasion of my personal privacy. I’m on ghost mode.” Snapchat knows many users may not be comfortable with constantly sharing their location. Thus, ghost mode is an option. If ghost mode is turned on in settings, your username and location will never appear on the map. Ghost mode makes it easy for users to choose how much information they want public.
Many complaints regarding SnapMap come from the parents of Snapchat members. The internet holds many threats, and parents worry about their children’s safety. Parents worry about adult stalkers obtaining their children’s locations. While these views may seem overbearing or over protective to teens, they are completely valid. Personal information released on social media is available for the whole world to find. Ghost mode is, inarguably, the safest way to use Snapchat. Although there are risks and plenty of parental discouragement, teenagers likely will continue to use snap maps, proving that you never truly learn until you yourself are put into a dangerous situation.