If you've been reading my posts for a while, you probably know I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. In fact, more than a month ago, right before I went on a week-long vacation with my family at the beach, I erased the app from my iPhone so as not to be sucked into the black hole that Facebook can be. But for some people, especially teenagers, Facebook can be a lot more than a time-sucker. It can actually be deadly.

Yesterday, a 15-year-old boy in the Netherlands was sentenced to a year in juvenile detention after he was contracted thorough Facebook to kill a girl his same age after an ongoing fight she had allegedly sustained with two other teens in the social networking site. 

Read more in ¿Qué más?: Husband says wife stabbed him over Facebook post

While this is an extreme case, the whole thing just got me thinking about the power of Facebook and other social media networks. We've all heard of the amazing stories--including entire country's revolutions and donations to those who need it most--brought about through social media. But it's obvious from this so-called "Facebook murder" that this medium can also play a role in violent crimes.

According to court documents, the boy--identified as Jinhua K--didn't know his victim and stabbed her to death "at the request or instruction of others." Those others are believed to be two friends with whom Joyce "Winsie" Hau, the victim, had been fighting with on Facebook for weeks. The boy was offered 1,000 euros (which is about $1,250). 

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Although my kids are way too little for me to have to worry about the effects of social media on them, I know tons of people, including those in my own family, whose kids are very much online and using Facebook on a daily basis. It is imperative that parents are aware of what their kids are doing online now more than ever. I personally believe kids shouldn't be allowed to have an account, unless they share their password with their parents. 

What do you think? Do you check your teen's Facebook accounts? How do you keep tabs on what he/she is doing online? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us a comment below.

Imagen vía Een Vandaag

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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