SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A new scare is circulating on social media this week, warning parents that apps advertising your location can be very dangerous information to make public.
The app Snapchat has a feature where all your friends can see exactly where you are located.
It might sound fun in theory, but in the wrong hands, that information can leave children vulnerable.
“It’s a very big concern not only as a woman but as a mother too and my kids are growing up in this and making sure that people can’t access our location and know where we are,” Laura Sulzbach, the Principal at Dakota City Elementary said.
According to a 2016 cyber security survey, 23 percent of teens have met in person with someone they met online.
“It can get really dangerous really quickly with people out to target children. If they are able to get their location, they can pick them up at school. They can see where they are walking home, they might not be accompanied by an adult at that time and they can get themselves into a situation where someone could just drive up and know exactly where they are,” said Kendal Thompson, the elementary technology teacher at Dakota City Elementary.
Most of these social media apps have privacy features users can add, but the survey says 56 percent of teenagers do not make there profiles private.
“A lot of times parents aren’t even aware that those settings could be changed so it’s more private for them or more secure for there kids and you don’t want to be so involved where they feel like they have to sneak around but you want to be protective,” said Melissa Ortiz, the program director at Girls Inc.
“It’s critical that parents understand that you can turn off those function it’s not necessary for a fact there is a ghost mode where they can see their friends, where their friends are but their friends can’t see where they are. The biggest thing for parents is to talk about it,” said Mandy Engel-Cartie, the executive director of Girls Inc.
Many schools are now teaching kids about these dangers as early as elementary school.
“We want them to know now that there are dangers out there. We hope that if they come in contact with those ideas now then as they grow and realize more and more things are out there for them that they will be less and less likely to get themselves in danger,” said Thompson.
Girls, inc says they encourage parents to sit down with their children to teach them how to use these apps safely before their child has access to them.