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New Snapchat Feature Raising Privacy Concerns With Experts And Parents Alike

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A popular cellphone app is letting people find your exact location in a snap.

It's a new feature on the Snapchat app, and some say it could be putting your safety at risk.

16-year-old Maddie Young and her friends love Snapchat -- the popular app is one of their favorites.

"Snapchat is a huge part of my life where all my friends are around the world," she tells CBS News' Hena Daniels.

But one of the newest features on the social networking app -- called Snap Map -- is raising privacy concerns with experts and parents alike.

As soon as users open the app, an emoji appears and pinpoints their exact location on a map for all their friends to see.

"It tells you when you were last active so it's kind of easy to talk to people and it's kind of dangerous," 15-year-old Lili Rodriguez said.

That's exactly the warning police departments across the country have for parents and young users.

Detective Joshua Showman from the Tulsa Police Department calls it a "dream come true fro child predators."

"Now they can find their location and go meet them and do whatever their twisted imagination inspires them to do," he said.

In a statement to CBS News, Snapchat said "the safety of our community is very important to us and we want o 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," the statement continued.

Users can go back into the so-called "Ghost Mode," but it's up to them to make sure.

I had a couple of friends who did not turn it off right away, it took them five or ten minutes to figure it out because it's kind of hard to find the options for it.

To turn on Ghost Mode, click on the icon and go to settings, where you can click on the invisibility cloak icon.

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