Facebook and other social networking websites have been accused by the head of the Catholic Church in England, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, of increasing the number of teenagers committing suicide.
According to the senior religious figure, social networking encourage young people to foster "transient", shallower friendships relying more on quantity rather than quality, thereby undermining a more traditional way of life.
The comments came shortly after the death of a 15-year-old teenager, Megan Gillan, who committed suicide in January, following a long spell of bullying and abuse on social networking website, Bebo.
The Archbishop told the Sunday Telegraph that "Facebook and MySpace might contribute towards communities, but I’m wary about it. It’s not rounded communication so it won’t build a rounded community."
"I think there's a worry that an excessive use or an almost exclusive use of text and emails means that as a society we're losing some of the ability to build interpersonal communication that's necessary for living together and building a community", said the Archbishop.
But others beg to differ; writing for the telegraph, Shane Richmond, the aptly-named Communities Editor for the newspaper, said that "If Megan’s bullies had cycled to her house to shout insults, would we be complaining about the danger of bicycles to our young people?"
Social networking websites magnify societal problems because they allow localised problems to reach another magnitude. This means not only that bullies can abuse victims on a 24/7 basis but can do it from the comfort of their rooms rather than having to physically taunt their "preys".