Use “Little Red Riding Hood” to educate children on the safe use of the Internet and social networks.
I propose to use the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” to educate children and young people in the safe and responsible use of the Internet and social networks. You can use this article with children in the following ways:
- 1) First have them read the story included and answer a series of questions related to the story.
- 2) Next, have them summarise the story in their own words and without having the text in front of them.
- 3) Finally, discuss with the children the lessons they have learned from the text. It is suggested to ask them some questions and then explain a summary of the lessons.
2) Reading of the story “Little Red Riding Hood”
Once upon a time there was a little girl in a village, the nicest little girl you ever saw, her mother loved her madly and her grandmother even more. This good woman had had a red bonnet made for her, she liked it so much that she never took it off, and that’s why everyone called her “Little Red Riding Hood”.
One day her mother baked some cakes and said to her, “Go and see how your grandmother is, for I hear she has been ill; take her some cake and this little jar of butter, which will do her good. But be careful when you go through the wood, don’t go off the path, and don’t talk to strangers.
Little Red Riding Hood set off at once to see how her grandmother, who lived in another village, was doing. After a while walking through the forest, she met a wolf, who wanted to eat her very much, but did not dare because some woodcutters were nearby. Instead, he asked her where she was going. The poor girl, who didn’t know how dangerous it was to stop and talk to a wolf, said to him:
— I am going to see my grandmother to see how she is because they say she has been ill; I am taking her a cake and a little jar of butter that my mother sent her.
— Does she live far away? — asked the wolf.
— Oh, yes,” said Little Red Riding Hood, “beyond the mill that you can see far away, in the first little house in the village.
— Oh, that’s wonderful! — said the wily wolf, “I live over there, too. I’ll race you to see who can get there first. We’ll each go a separate way. Is that all right with you?
The wolf ran off at full speed along the shortest path, and the little girl went along the longest one, picking hazelnuts, running after butterflies, and making bouquets of the little flowers she found. The wolf soon reached the grandmother’s house and knocked at her door: Knock! Knock!
— Who is it?
— It’s me, your granddaughter, Little Red Riding Hood,” said the wolf, hiding his voice, “I’ve brought a cake and a little jar of butter that my mother sent you to recover from your illness.
The good grandmother, who was in bed because she felt unwell, shouted back:
— How good you are! Pull the knocker and the door will open.
The wolf pulled the knocker, and the door opened. He pounced on the good woman and devoured her in a moment, for she had not eaten for more than three days. Then she closed the door and went to lie down on her grandmother’s bed, waiting for Little Red Riding Hood, and a little later the little girl came and knocked at the door: Knock, knock!
— Who is it?
Little Red Riding Hood, hearing the hoarse voice of the wolf, was at first frightened, but thinking that her grandmother had a cold, she calmed down and answered:
— It is I, your granddaughter, Little Red Riding Hood, I bring you a cake and a little jar of butter that my mother has sent you to recover from your illness.
The wolf cried out to her, softening his voice a little:
— How good you are! Pull the knocker and the door will open.
Little Red Riding Hood pulled the knocker and the door opened. Seeing her enter, the wolf said to her, hiding under the blanket:
— Leave the cake and the little jar of butter on the mantelpiece and come and join me, it will do me good to see you nearby.
Little Red Riding Hood lay down on the bed beside her grandmother and was very astonished to see the shape of the old woman in her nightdress. Then she said to her grandmother:
— Grandmother, what big arms you have!
— They are for holding you better, my child.
— Grandmother, what big legs you have!
— They are to run better by your side, my child.
— Grandma, what big ears you have!
— They are to hear you better, my child.
— Grandmother, what big eyes you have!
— They are to see you better, my child.
— Grandmother, what big teeth you have!
— They are to eat you better!
And saying these words, the wolf pounced on Little Red Riding Hood and ate her.
3) Activities that children can do with this story.
3.1) Answer the following questions related to the story
- Why is the main character in the story called Little Red Riding Hood?
- Why does Little Red Riding Hood go to visit her grandmother?
- Why doesn’t the wolf eat Little Red Riding Hood when he meets her in the forest?
- Why does Little Red Riding Hood tell the wolf where she is going instead of hiding this information from him?
- What virtues does Little Red Riding Hood demonstrate in the story? What mistakes does she make?
- What mistake does Little Red Riding Hood’s mother make?
- What information does the wolf use to make the grandmother let him pass believing he is Little Red Riding Hood?
3.2) After answering the above questions, summarise the story.
3.3) Then review with the children the lessons they have learned from the text:
- For example, by asking them: What lesson did you learn from this story?
- Also ask them to tell you if they have encountered any situation like the one in the story and how they have dealt with it.
- Review with them the summary of the lessons with the help of the explanations in section 4 of this article.
- Finally, propose to them to apply the lessons from the story to an example from everyday life as indicated in section 5 of this article. In the case of this story, the application I propose is to use it to educate children and young people in the safe and responsible use of the Internet and social networks.
4) Lessons and values that can be learned from this story
This story teaches children the importance of obeying their parents in matters in which they are less experienced than they are and not to be trusting in their relationship with strangers. There are several lessons that can be learned from the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Some of them are:
- The main teaching of the story is not to trust strangers. Despite the good words the wolf said to Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf was hiding evil intentions.
- Not to reveal personal details. In her meeting with the wolf, Little Red Riding Hood detailed where she was going, for what reason and what she was carrying. This is a big mistake, as such harmless information can be used by evildoers to harm us or our loved ones.
- Obey our parents. One of Little Red Riding Hood’s mother’s recommendations when she left her house was to be cautious when crossing the forest and not to stray from the indicated path. This, of course, was not considered by the innocent little girl, who fell into the trap set by the animal and took the suggested shortcut.
- Do not be overconfident. It is right and proper to reach out and offer trust to others, but without forgetting that prudence is especially important. This advice is still valid today, because there are evil people like the wolf in the story with bad intentions, and we must protect ourselves from them. Beyond the wolf’s words to deceive Little Red Riding Hood, the girl also committed much imprudence's: she never mistrusted the path the wolf showed her, nor was she suspicious of the wolf disguised as an old woman.
- From another point of view, we can add a further moral to the story of Little Red Riding Hood. This one, however, is not addressed to children, but rather to parents. It is the following: Do not neglect your children no matter how safe a situation may seem. Even though the mother gave clear warnings to the child, this did not prevent her life from being in danger. It is important to note, then, that parents should never take their children’s safety for granted, no matter how responsible and independent they may seem. In the story, the mother made the mistake of letting Little Red Riding Hood wander alone in the forest without thinking about the dangers that this innocent child might encounter.
5) Practical example: educating children and young people in the safe and responsible use of the Internet and social networks.
In the case of this story, the application I propose is to use it to educate children and young people in the safe and responsible use of the Internet and social networks.
We take as a reference the advice for good digital health that the Spanish Association of Primary Care Paediatrics offers to Internet users to educate them in the safe and responsible use of modern technologies. These tips are summarised in the following points:
Health professionals remind parents that the promotion of healthy habits and education in values are the starting points for a responsible use of modern technologies.
- Remember that you are the EXAMPLE for your children to follow.
- Encourage healthy lifestyle habits.
- Respect the hours of sleep.
- Gender equality starts at home.
- Encourage outdoor activities and FAMILY activities.
- Encourage empathy, equality, and respect for the rights of others.
The police recommend that parents supervise and educate their children in the safe use of modern technologies.
- Agree rules with your children about the use of ICTs.
- SUPERVISE what your child DOES every time he/she connects to the NET.
- Share your child’s TASTS and hobbies.
- Teach them to surf the INTERNET in a RESPONSIBLE way.
- Place ELECTRONIC DEVICES in a place of common use.
But it is also especially important for TEENS to know that…
- SECURITY starts with using complex PASSWORDS.
- What you UPLOAD ON THE NET, STAYS ON THE NET. Don’t give out personal information. Protect YOUR PRIVACY.
- DON’T accept UNKNOWN PEOPLE on your social networks and applications.
- COVER YOUR WEBCAM! They could access it and get images of you.
- RESPECT others and don’t upload images of them without permission.
If you have problems, ask for help and if you are a victim of a crime REPORT IT!
You can further educate yourself on these issues with the resources available on the Internet.
6) Origin of this tale
Little Red Riding Hood is an orally transmitted fantasy tale, spread throughout much of Europe, which has since been translated into different writings, first by Charles Perrault and later by the Brothers Grimm. The story included in this article is an adaptation of Perrault’s version because its tragic ending, where the wolf eats Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, serves to further emphasise the teachings of the tale.
— — — — — — — — — — — — —
© Virgilio Postigo Cubo. 2023.
You can read this and other articles by me at Virgilio Postigo — Medium
You can also access free educational material for children from my book “Nico, the little detective” at the following link.