Path

Common Sense Media says

Fascinating social network focuses on 150 closest friends.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Very easy to use. Simple, structured, and well-organized user interface.The app helps users quickly begin to build their 150 friends allowed on Path by connecting with their phone's contacts list, Gmail, and other social media accounts (optional). 

Violence

Content depends on users' posts; Path Terms of Use state that content may not contain material that is "threatening ... harassing, hateful...or encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offense" or violate any law or is "otherwise inappropriate."

Sex

Content depends on users' posts; Path Terms of Use state that content may not contain pornographic material or anything that is "inappropriate."

Language

Content depends on users' posts; Path Terms of Use state that content may not contain anything "harassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive" or otherwise "inappropriate."

 

Consumerism

Unlike Facebook, this social network does not include brand pages or fan groups. Photo filters and stickers can be purchased in-app (some are free).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Content depends on users' posts; Path Terms of Use state that content may not contain anything that "encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offense" or violate any law, or is "otherwise inappropriate."

Privacy & safety

Since Path is a smaller social network exclusively for your closest contacts, and then a sort of clearinghouse for other content you want to post to other social networking sites, the ability for personal information dissemination seems more contained and thoughtful, although teens still need reminding about safe online and mobile information sharing guidelines. Path is only for users 13 and up. The Privacy Policy is explained in detail on the app's website, which is important to read because this app collects quite a bit of personal info beyond what's collected for registration, including for use in linking other social networking accounts (usernames and passwords) to your Path account, GPS data when using the location feature, and more. Path was fined in early 2013 for storing data from underage users and is now required to have its privacy policy assessed regularly. The company has reportedly rectified that issue.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Path is an interesting development in the world of social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter. On Path, users select a maximum of 150 "high-quality" friends with which to interact, post "moments," share media, and message individual users privately. Path also acts as a sort of clearinghouse for users' larger social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, Instagram, and Tumblr. Path users can send info they post on Path to their accounts on the larger social networks like Facebook, or they can import posts from elsewhere to Path. In this way, Path is hoping users keep it as their primary social networking app and share most personal info with those 150 people closest to them, and become more choosy as they fan out to other social networking sites. Path has a lot of promise for more deliberate personal information sharing. Still, there are some concerns with privacy, as teens' location is tracked for the automatic neighborhood feature (it can be turned off), and teen Path accounts must be set to private in privacy settings or that info is automatically public. Overall, Path is a beautiful app with a fascinating concept that has (as with most social networking apps) some privacy and safety concerns. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression
  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Tech Skills

  • social media

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Highly engaging, full of interaction, easy to use and well-designed. A range of emoticons to "like" other friends' posts add a fun element. To be engaging for teens, their friends must be on Path, too. 

Learning Approach

This empowering, highly social app isn't designed to be educational. Still, its ability to connect with larger social networks can help teens practice appropriately disseminating information. 

Support

Brief tutorial text helps new users. It would be nice to see more info clearly presented to teen users about use of account settings to protect privacy and location. There's an excellent FAQ on the app's website.

What kids can learn

Skills

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression
  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Tech Skills

  • social media

Kids can learn how to set and maintain healthy information-sharing boundaries in the world of social networking by sharing more personal information with limited people on Path and less personal information with more people via other social networks they link to their Path account. Teens can also practice conveying messages effectively with multiple forms of expression, and friendship building. Used appropriately, Path can help teens learn the art of appropriate, selective information sharing with various circles of family, friends, school or professional contacts, and acquaintances.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's it about?

Sign up for an account on Path, and choose whether you want to link to your device's contact list as well as the social media account that you want this app to connect with in order to find your 150 friends. Enter a profile and photo, as well as a background image to represent your account. Then start sharing "moments," messaging, liking other posts, and crossposting to other social networking accounts. Posts can be searched, and photo filters and stickers can be purchased (some are free). Lots to share and find on this innovative app.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Path is unquestionably a beautiful app, much better looking and well-designed than other social networking apps. Its 150-friend limit -- based on research that people have a maximum number of significant social relationships -- seems like a great idea for more meaningful online interaction. Especially when paired with the feature that users can disseminate posts to their other social media accounts from Path when they choose to share some posts more widely with more acquaintances, this sort of filter just makes sense.

Whether most teens will warm to this idea is the question. Part of the draw to Facebook for peer-focused teens is having zillions of friends and as many "likes" as possible on their posts and photos. Still, easier media sharing (like music), recording private voice messages, and the search feature, as well as some of the other more quirky features -- like the ability to not just "like" posts but also to use smile, laugh, gasp, frown, or love emoticons -- may win many teens over to Path. With the right use of privacy settings and the awareness that there may be good reasons to share personal information, even just daily happenings, with people truly closer to you in real life, Path may be a useful evolution in social media apps. 

Families can talk about...

  • Talk to your teens about using the appropriate privacy settings for their Path accounts, as well as safe information sharing across social media.

  • Ask your teen: Who are your closest friends you would include on a "limited" social media account? Why do you consider them close friends?

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:May 3, 2013
Category:Social Networking
Size:24.10 MB
Version:3.0.4
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later; Android varies with device

This review of Path was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bycalebz June 16, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

path

great for familie
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass