Adrianna Kruse's adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood, called Little Red Hoodie, is a good children's book focused on something very important in today's modern Web 2.0 Family era:  Internet Safety.  If you have young children, this is a reasonably-priced book you can order online and really use to hammer home some important messages about talking to strangers–online.   Little Red Hoodie Cover

Little Red Hoddie's rules to safe Internet use:

Secret: Keep all of your personal information secret.

Ask: Always ask your parents before meeting anyone in person or inviting someone over for a visit.

Feel: If something you see on the Internet makes you feel uncomfortable, tell your parents immediately.

Educate: Continue to educate yourself and others on the hidden dangers of Internet use.

And the best tip of all: When in doubt, log out!

The plot line in the book is quite simple: Little Red Hoodie gets home from school and instead of doing her homework, gets online, where she is IMed by her "Granny" who claims to be sick and needing something to eat so she will feel better.  In spite of LRH at first questioning, "I thought you were at a karate tournament today," Granny says she's too ill to talk on the phone and the little girl's mom is too busy to be worried about tending to her.  Granny insists that LRH come now, and she does. 

When LRH gets to Granny's house, Granny is gone and we're led through the traditional your teeth and hands look bigger routine, only for the Big Bad Wolf to leap from the bed exclaiming, "Because I'm not your Granny!"  What happens next, I'll leave you to find out in the book.  Little Red Hood Wolf

But the underlying message here for children is the fact that in spite of who people say they are online, they really don't know who they're talking with, even when there is a nice Granny photo on a profile screen. 

This is something that all Web 2.0 Families today must consider as we allow our children more and more freedom on the Internet.  Let's face it, there are some really dangerous people out there who are on the Internet.  And even though sex offenders are prohibited from being on a computer, the cases of them being on one anyway are far too numerous to sleep comfortably at night if you're letting your kids open access to the Net. 

A counselor in Dallas was telling me last week of a sex offender who was caught by police after the offender tried to meet what he thought was a young girl.  Upon his release from prison, the guy was told to stay off the Internet.  Well, guess what.  Within a week, he was back in jail again. He had gone back to the same Internet platform.  Hit on another girl, and guess what, when he went to meet her, was met by the same police officer who had arrested him the first time.

Do you know who your children are talking with online?  Do you have the passwords to get into their MySpace or Facebook accounts?  Do you have the passwords to ALL of their accounts, because the tendency is for kids nowadays to have more than one, particularly on MySpace.  Have you seen what others are writing on their walls?  Have you seen what your own kids are posting? 

Mrs. Kruse, who I initially found on Twitter, has done a good thing in writing this book, Little Red Hoodie.  It's worth the money to get one and spend some time reading it with your younger children.  Heck, for fun read it to your tweens when they're basically captive and cannot escape!