Description:The Mappen app (https://mappen.co/) is a free, location sharing app. According to its App Store description, “SEE WHERE YOUR FRIENDS ARE AND MEET UP. Mappen helps you plan your social life by showing you where friends are and what they’re doing so you can get together.” You basically drop a pin where you live, tell the app where all of your favorite places are, where you like to hangout, and what you’re doing (for example, I can drop the Netflix icon at my house letting people know to come watch movies with me).
Category: Social Networking
APP Store rating: 4+ (this is a massive issue – not even close to what it should be rated)
What do parents need to know about Mappen?
The Mappen app is a safety problem.Although it only shares your location with your friends, the app is constantly asking for access to all of your contacts so that you can add all of them. And, our experience tells us that kids are not often selective with who they select as contacts.
When installing Mappen for the first time, the app asks you to turn on the device’s location services to run in the background even when they are not actively using the app (“always”). This allows anyone you’re connected to on the app to see your exact GPS location on a very accurate map 24/7.
If you choose anything other than “always” on for location, the app penalizes you by not allowing you to post status updates. As you can see in the images, you can toggle off location sharing for only short periods by going “invisible,” but it will automatically reactivate.
“When you use our Services, we may collect your personal information. That information may include, among other things, your full name, email addresses, age, birthday, password, phone numbers, schools attended or attending, device identifiers, and other information you provide…
We may also collect information from your user profile, including, among other information: photos, usernames, gender, geographic information, likes, interests, bio, country, character names, email addresses, and contact information for and links to other websites…
Depending on how you access our Services, we may also collect device identification information, including MAC address and IP address. If you choose to connect your mobile device contacts or address book with our Services, we will collect, synchronize and store your contacts or address book information. We may collect the phone numbers and names of your contacts to enable you and your contacts to connect and use our Services…
We also use your information to communicate with you about your inquiries, our company, and related news, as well as to send you promotional emails, surveys, newsletters, or notifications…
If you have chosen to synchronize your mobile device contacts with our Services, your decision may initiate SMS (text) notifications directly to your friends to invite them to our Services and alert them to relevant application activity…
In particular, we may use your information to deliver and target advertising…
If you give us your consent (I don’t remember being asked), we may actively share personal information with third party advertisers for their direct marketing purposes.”
Is there a hidden doorway to Google on the Mappen app? Not that we can find. All doorways to a Google search on an iPhone kick the user out to Safari, which is great.
Mappen app bottom line – is it safe for your kids?
No, it is not. The app is bent on telling your contacts too much, too freely, creating what we believe to be a potentially unsafe environment for our young people. So, keep the app store toggled off (see below for how to do that)!
Now What? Do these 3 things in the next 24 hours!
3 steps for parents to take – these won’t take long:
Talk to your kids about unsafe contact with people online – read our related post: Digital Kidnapping and Social Media Privacy. It might be the perfect opportunity to review the contacts on your child’s phone to ensure you’re comfortable with all of them!
Visit our full list of parent resources to see if there’s anything that interests you. We have free videos for parents to watch with their kids, suggested books, recommended software and more. Visit today!