‘Curmudgeon’s’ guide to widgets

Not everyone loves widgets, those little applications supposedly adding fun and a sort of animation to social-networking profiles. Parents, here's the perspective of someone who finds some of them a little annoying (words such as "insidious" and "invasive" are used), including Facebook's No. 1 app, the FunWall. Another, bigger, reason to be wary of widgets is in the privacy-protection area. Note this from the Associated Press: "People often think Facebook profiles and sometimes MySpace pages, if they're set as private, are only available to friends or specific groups, such as a university, workplace, or even a city. But that's not true if they use applications [aka "widgets"]. On Facebook, for instance, applications can only be downloaded if a user checks a box allowing its developers to 'know who I am and access my information,' which means everything on a profile, except contact info. Given little thought, agreeing to the terms has become a matter of routine for the nearly 70 million Facebook users worldwide who use applications to spruce up their pages and to flirt, play and bond with friends online."

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