Mappen: The Latest Social Media Craze Parents Need to Know About

by | Mar 4, 2019 | Online Safety

Social media has been flirting with location sharing for years. It all started with “checking in” to places on Foursquare (remember Foursquare?!). Facebook and Instagram soon followed suit, and then Snapchat. Today, proximity-based dating apps like Tinder are all the rage.

Location sharing has steadily become a part of our online lives. But the latest social media craze for kids, Mappen, makes location sharing the entire point of the app.

How It Works

Mappen (the name) is a shortened form of the phrase “Make Something Happen,” the slogan for the company. According to its creators, the app is “a map for your social life,” and it aims to get you socializing with other people — whether at home, a friend’s house, or out in public.

To get started, you add friends from your contact list. Next, you enable location sharing. The dashboard of the app is a real-time map (think of the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter). You can leave statuses as to what you’re doing and see what your friends are doing, as well. Once you make plans to meet up, integration with Uber and Google Maps makes getting there even easier.

Privacy Concerns to Consider

Mappen is ostensibly safe because kids have to manually add the people with whom they share their location. However, this is far from a foolproof feature. Kids may start out only adding friends, but people aren’t always who they say they are online. Predators have been known to take advantage of false identities. And once you’re friends on Mappen, you’re literally broadcasting them directions right to your front door, school, movie theater, or bus stop.

Apart from safety concerns, Mappen also seems ripe for potential drama, as you’re able to see all of your friends and whether or not they’re hanging out together without you. This feature contributes heavily to the fear of missing out (FOMO), and for some kids, it can cause significant anxiety — Did everyone get invited to Alex’s house but me?

At Bark, we’re continually on the lookout for the most popular apps and devices. While the use of Mappen hasn’t hit fever pitch yet, it should be on every parent’s radar. All families can benefit from monitoring phones, devices, social media, and more. Sign up today for Bark and receive one free week.

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