YOU may have heard about the new Snapchat feature causing concern for parents across the land.

If your child is one of the countless youngsters who keeps in touch with their friends using the social media app, you need to read this.

What changes have been made to Snapchat?

The recent update to Snapchat shows publicly posted images on a searchable map. Users’ ‘snaps’, or videos, are plotted onto a worldwide map, with anyone able to see where anyone is unless they use the private feature. Snap Map also lets people zoom in on places such as schools and see videos and pictures posted by children inside.

Snap Map is off by default. You choose to opt in and share who you want to share your location with. When you first open the Map you have 3 options - either to be in Ghost Mode (where no one can see you), share your location with all of your friends, or select from your friends list the people you would like to see your location.

Why has this been done?

Snapchat promotes this as a 'new way to explore the world'.

Why are people worried?

Under the latest Snapchat update, public settings allow users to find someone's exact location. The locations can be very specific - even revealing the street you are on. It’s been slammed as an ‘invitation for stalkers, kidnappers, burglars and relationship trust issues’.

Have the police raised any concerns over the new feature?

Yes, in Northamptonshire. Detective Sergeant Nickie Deeks wrote a letter to schools about the Snapchat update.

It reads: “It produces a map which allows you to see their exact location down to the house they are in.

"Snapchat 'hotspots' allow anyone to see snapchats that are set to public - you do not need to have added any of these people to get locations and the update is worldwide.

"Children and young people are vulnerable for a number of reasons to being sexually exploited through the use of the internet and, in particular, social media.

"The internet is an amazing resource and tool but sadly does come with risk."

Nadia Sawalha, from TV's Loose Women, and 14-year-old daughter Maddie describe their shock at Snapchat's 'creepy' new feature.

When can people see the location of others?

The new update means you are constantly sharing your location with your Snapchat friends, as long as you have the app open or are actively using it.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

How can I switch off Snap Map location sharing?

1. When in photo-taking mode, pinch the screen to open Snap Map.

2. Touch the settings cog in the top right corner of the screen.

3. Tap ‘Ghost Mode’ to switch off location sharing.

4. Photos and videos posted to Snapchat's public 'Our Story' will still be discoverable on the map.

What is the difference between 'My Story' and 'Our Story'?

'My Story' is what just your friends see and 'Our Story' is what you choose to submit to Snapchat and can potentially be made public.

What has Snapchat said?

A statement reads: “The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works.

“With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional.

“Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time.

“It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.”

Sexual health charity Yorkshire Mesmac has come up with this guide to staying safe with Snap Map.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: