Parents warned of new Snapchat function leaving kids exposed

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Parents are being warned a new Snapchat function could put their children at risk, leaving them exposed to predators.

Snapchat recently released Snap Map, a new tracker function allowing users to see, in real time, the exact location of any user. What could possibly go wrong?

Snapchat hyped the perks of the update, saying, "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!"

The promotional video shows a group of young women finding their friends in their local area on a night out, and having a great time.

The Snapchat update now automatically shares your location unless you go into settings and select "ghost mode".

Parents are being warned to change the settings on their children's phones, and to talk to their children about the possible risks.

Facebook page Social+ issued this warning: "Snapchat has introduced a new tracker in the update where you can view the exact location of your friends. It can give you the area, town, and street and if you zoom in enough, it shows the house on the street layout. Please share this to make people aware, Snapchat has a lot of young users on, if your children are on please check that they have their location set to 'ghost mode', that way no one can see where they are."

The post has struck a chord with concerned parents, being shared over 150,000 times, and with thousands of parents tagging others in their comments.

To enable ghost mode, ensure the app has been updated, then switch to selfie mode on the camera and zoom out. This will give you the option of changing who can see your location.

Snapchat has 4 million active users in Australia, with around a quarter of them aged between 13 and 17.