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Is Facebook dangerous?

I have been using facebook for sometime now since my class reunion coordinator suggested it.  At first I was using it to link up with old classmates to keep track of when our next class reunion would start up.  Once my facebook account was active though I started to get multiple friend requests from folks I hadn’t seen from or heard from in years.  It was quite exciting at first to get back in contact with people that I knew from back in my childhood days.

I later started using facebook as a way to communicate with family.  Facebook had a great way of sharing pictures, chatting with family or updates on what’s happening with the family.  I soon started to add friends from work as well which gave me an idea of what my co-workers were like in their off hours.  It gave you a more human impression of them instead of the day to day work related conversations.

I finally allowed my son to get his facebook account mainly to communicate with family and some of his classmates.  I did see some reports though on the news about cyber bullying and how one girl commited suicide from a mom cyber bullying her on Myspace.
Now there is an article about facebook and mental health of teens and how they can get depressed by certain things in facebook.  Teens can see what other teens are doing and perhaps feel they are not doing enough in their life.  They can also compare the number of friends each other have and feel inferior if they have fewer friends.  They can also have other teens post about then either on their wall or in a status update.  If the post went to their wall they could at least remove it however if someone else is posting a status update about them they have little recourse other than reporting it, which few do.

One thing parents should do is make sure that they are friends with their teen’s facebook account so they can spot check what is being posted to their wall and know if they are being abused.  Some parents have suggested having access to their child’s account so that they can check messages and other things as well.  This might seem intrusive to other parents though as they feel that they need to give their kids some privacy.

What would you do as a parent in monitoring your child’s facebook account?