Little Red Hoodie

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:28 am

Internet predators are a pressing concern for parents. Youths are becoming increasingly more tech-savvy, and forms of online communication are growing at an alarming rate. All too often we hear tales of horrific tragedies involving social networking sites, and know that many of these could have been prevented with parental monitoring and frontcover imagediscussions about internet safety.

Until recently, I thought that such monitoring and discussions were something that I did not need to worry about for quite some time since my child is still very young and I teach at an elementary school. My thinking drastically changed after overhearing a conversation among second grade girls at my school about an upcoming sleepover. When I think of young girls’ slumber parties, I picture snacks, games and movies, but instead, the girls were planning to log on to their sisters’ social networking sites. From this moment, I knew that I needed to take responsibility for educating this demographic about internet safety, and wanted to encourage others to do the same.

After this incident, I began researching young children and internet use and found some disturbing information. For example, in 2008 according to the Rochester Institute of Technology:

  • Approximately 48% of students from kindergarten to first grade interact with others on the internet.
  • Of these 48%, nearly half of the students had already been exposed to something online that made them feel uncomfortable.
  • To make matters worse, one in four of these children did not report his or her experience to an adult.

Given these findings, I was more convinced than ever that children are never too young to be introduced to the concept of being safe on the internet.

After exploring countless books, videos and the like, I found that there were many products, websites, and resources that helped educate parents and older children. However, I found no such internet safety resources and materials that were specifically geared toward introducing the subject to younger children. Then it hit me: there is a parallel between the Big Bad Wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story and internet predators, and this would be a perfect way to introduce the concept to this age group. Pulling from this idea and what I have learned about quality children’s literature from my years of experience as a teacher, I wrote Little Red Hoodie. This children’s picture book is a modernized version of the classic tale in which the Big Bad Wolf plays the role of an internet predator posing as Granny online in an attempt to lure Little Red into his trap. I spent countless hours working to make the book child-friendly and humorous, so that the topic could be introduced in a nonthreatening way. My hope is that the book will initiate a critical conversation among families and perhaps even help prevent future tragedies.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

  • Educate yourself and your children about internet safety. Local police departments often offer various materials and programs to the community. There is also a wide variety of organizations and website that provide such resources including the following:
  • Be mindful of the growing number of ways that your child can utilize the internet to interact with others. For example, many video games now allow children to go online and interact with other users.
  • If you choose to use Little Red Hoodie as a tool for teaching your family about internet safety, here are some suggestions:
    • Read the book at least once for enjoyment before using it to get into a serious discussion.
    • After reading the book, help lead an open-ended discussion by asking questions such as the following: “How did the Wolf trick Little Red Hoodie?”, “Why do you think that the Wolf used the computer to try to trick Little Red Hoodie?”, “How do you think that the story would have been different if Little Red Hoodie would have asked her mother before leaving the apartment?”, “What do you think Little Red Hoodie should have done?”
    • Post “Little Red Hoodie’s Rules to SAFE Internet Use” near your computer (found on the last page of the book).

Comments

7 Responses to “Little Red Hoodie”

  1. erica says:

    oh what a great idea! I can’t wait to get a copy. My daughter is very young still, and won’t be hitting the computer yet, but I will keep this bookmarked for the day that she’s able to start typing and wants to start using the internet.

    Cheers!
    .-= erica´s last blog ..Medicine Cabinet =-.

  2. Fantastic advice and an eye-opener that I need to start worrying so early. Like so many other aspects of childhood these days it pays to be proactive earlier than you think is necessary because everything seems to be happening much faster than when we were kids. Looking forward to the book – Rebecca
    .-= Rebecca Wear Robinson´s last blog ..Can teenage boys feel fear? =-.

  3. Christine says:

    Stefanie, What a great idea for your book “Little Red Hoodie”. We really do need to educate children about internet safety, It is hard to stay on top of this.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..The Long Meandering Road =-.

    • Stefanie Zuckersazucker says:

      Hi Christine,
      Thanks for stopping by …and while I’d love to take credit for such a great idea, but the author is actually Adrianna Kruse. You can find information about her, and a link to where you can find the book at http://www.pagesofwonder.com/kruse. In the meantime, I’ll make sure to pass on your comment to her (I’m sure she’d love to hear it).
      Thanks again!
      Stefanie

  4. Stefanie ZuckerStefanie Zucker says:

    Adrianna I LOVE this book! I purchased it for my sister who’s kids are at the perfect age. She’s been reading it to them every night and even had the babysitter read it to them when she went out. Thank you for helping me to keep my niece and nephews safe!

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  1. Tweets that mention Little Red Hoodie : Pediatric Safety -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stefanie Zucker, Stefanie Zucker, Stefanie Zucker, Edu & Human Ecology, Adrianna Kruse and others. Adrianna Kruse said: Today Pediatric Safety ran a feature on Little Red Hoodie. You can check it out at http://bit.ly/7FQCdQ http://bit.ly/60NmiS […]

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by PediatricSafety: To talk to young kids about internet safety “Little Red Hoodie” book is great -we’re showcasing it Fri http://bit.ly/7FQCdQ #theonlinemom…



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