Snapchat Maps: An essential safety guide

We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!
— Snap Inc.

On June 21st, Snapchat introduced a new feature. The app, highly popular with teens, introduced users to Snap Map - a street map viewer showing locations of yourself and other users.

While the feature is a lot of fun, with some great applications in learning, there have been notable concerns surrounding privacy from parents, schools and the police. Using GPS location services on your phone, it is possible for friends to see your precise location on the Snap Map overlay.

How to be safe

Safety is of course a big concern for younger users on social. It is important to arm yourself with the right knowledge to guide pupils / children in the safe use of social media. 

The new Snap Map feature has several settings, which are very easy to change, to help users define who can see them. 

[1] Open Snap Map: on the normal photo / camera screen, pinch with two fingers to open Snap Map.

[2] Opt in: if you or your pupil / child haven't already, you must opt-in to use Snap Map!

[3] Who to share with: users can now pick who they share their location with. You can either pick Friends (All) or handpick a select group, or set your location to Ghost Mode so no one can see you. 

How your avatar will appear on Snap Map with  Ghost Mode  turned on

How your avatar will appear on Snap Map with Ghost Mode turned on

[4] How to change settings afterwards: if you need to change your settings it is nice and easy to do so. When Snap Map is open, either tap on your person / avatar or click the cog symbol in the top-right. 

Key points

There are several important points that you should know implicitly, to better understand terminology and how the map updates.

  • On Snapchat, anyone can add anyone as a friend. However, on Snap Maps a "Friend" (i.e. the person you will be sharing your location with) is only counted if both persons follow each other. The point to impart to younger users here is: ONLY ADD PEOPLE YOU KNOW.
  • Ghost Mode makes the you invisible to your friends on Snap Map. You will still be able to see them on the map though.
  • Your location will update every time you open the app. If you have Snapchat closed for several hours your avatar will disappear from your friends' maps.


Snap Maps is a really cool new feature for Snapchat, and we can see it having some great applications for schools. Imagine wanting to talk about the colosseum in Rome. Have a look on Snap Maps and you'll be able to see what Stories people are sharing from that location.

Of course, safety always comes first - so as a teacher or parent, you must understand the security settings. The team at Snapchat have made these as simple as possible, so users can use their app safely. 


Thanks for reading - we hope you all get to experience how much fun Snap Maps is, while guiding the younger generation to being safe online. We'd love to hear thoughts or comments on this guide or about Snapchat / Snap Maps. Please comment below.