MSP warns over 'Snap Map'

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin

A North East MSP has warned of the dangers of a new feature on a map which enables young people to show their location to other users.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has written to Police Scotland, the director of education at Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government’s Minster for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald.

It comes after an incident in her constituency earlier this year involving an 11-year-old child whose images were distributed amongst a group of older boys after appearing on the social media app.

The new ‘snap map’ is automatically put on, enabling the feature, when someone updates their phone.

Parents at Buchanhaven Primary school in Peterhead were already sent letters advising them to make sure the feature was disabled.

The minimum age to sign up for Snapchat is 13, but reports have emerged of a number of children using it despite the age requirements.

The Aberdeenshire East MSP said: “The ‘snap map’ allows for teenagers locations to be seen by anyone else they have on Snapchat. Some parents and children may not even be aware of the feature.

“It is really important we continue to have conversations with our children and that there is sound advice out there for parents too on what is available online for people to see.

“I have written to the local authority, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to express my concern over the additional feature.

“I would encourage people to be vigilant of allowing these kind of features, particularly when children are going to be travelling to and from school.

“I look forward to feedback on this matter as soon as possible.”