Snapchat warning issued after 14-year-old girl is repeatedly approached by four men

Date published: 12 January 2018

A Snapchat warning has been issued by Parents Against Grooming UK after a 14-year-old girl was followed and chased by four men.

The girl is understood to have been approached three times by the men, who were shouting her name and asking her to get in their car.

Co-founder of PAGUK, William Howarth, said: “Her family were confused as to how the group knew her name and location, and how they showed up after she left her friends.

“They checked her Snapchat maps, and were shocked at how many young children have their location shared, especially when they do not know some of the people they have added.

“The 14-year-old is luckily very brave and gave all info to police. This time there was not a nasty ending, but this may not be the case next time.

“This app is dangerous: the fact the default setting is set to show your location is ludicrous. The default should be set not to and set only if you require the feature.

“We are just asking parents to speak to their children about the dangers of this feature and also educate them how to turn it off in app settings by putting your status as ‘ghost’.”

Snap Map has several location settings: ‘Ghost mode’ hides your location from everyone on the map; ‘Select Friends’ displays only to those friends who you choose to share your location with, and ‘My Friends’ displays to everyone added on the app.

The feature cannot be disabled once it has been set up, only hidden through the ghost mode. Snaps submitted to ‘Our Story’ – a collection of snaps submitted from various Snapchat users – can still show on the map, regardless of location setting.

To stay safe online, Snapchat recommends:

  • Only choosing to share your location with people you know.
  • Checking in on your privacy settings often to make sure you’re sharing your location how you want to.
  • Only submitting things to Our Story that you do not mind other people seeing, including street signs or landmarks that can indicate your location. 

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