I have to admit I am no stranger to Facebook. I have used it now for two or so years. Initially it was quite exciting getting in touch with long lost friends and work colleagues from another lifetime. Now it's more a quick check every few days for personal messages and to take my turn in my scrabble games! (I'm a board game junkie who's never had many people interested in playing real life games!). I am so over seeing who hates who and how much they had to drink last night ... not to mention how they scored in some obscure quiz about what colour eyes the person they are going to marry has!
Thankfully Facebook has plenty of options when it comes to privacy settings and choosing what you can and can't see from others or publish about yourself. Left unedited, it leaves one open to all sorts of nasties including cyberbullying, defamation, invasion of privacy etc. One thing that hugely concerns me, not just with Facebook but any social networking and in fact the internet in general, is the freedom to post information and pictures of anyone, anywhere without their consent. I have been quite upset in the past when other people have uploaded (and tagged) photos of me and especially my children. I even feel quite voyeuristic (is that even a word?) myself when I've looked at photos that my friends have uploaded - even though that has been the intention of the posting. Also the fact that you can read entire "conversations" between other people bothers me in some ways, although everyone is aware when they chose this method of communication that it is all there for everyone to see.
With the right settings I do think Facebook is a fun and useful application. Being able to join groups of likeminded people with common interests, or keep up to date with an upcoming event, or staying in touch with friends and relatives you would otherwise have little or no contact with (I have some relatives travelling overseas and it's great to be able to see where they are and what they are up to) - these are all great benefits of an application that is quick, simple and best of all free!
It is certainly a great communication tool, putting people in touch all over the world, be it for fun, friendship, education or promotion. Certainly beneficial for secondary and higher educational institutions, but like MySpace, way too 'dangerous' for the primary aged. They just don't have the experience and the skill to handle it responsibly.