Tuesday, April 17th, 2007
A Book for Unsupervised Kids Roaming the Internet
Dear Little Lamb is a picture book for the preschool set that indirectly teaches the peril of Internet usage. Written by Kempter Christa and illustrated by Weldin Frauke, it is translated from German by Michelle Maczka.
The story is about a wolf who spots a lamb through his telescope in a nearby valley and begins corresponding with the lamb. He portrays himself as a likable friend, all the while intending to lure the lamb to his lair. Instead of e-mail and instant messages, the wolf writes letters on a typewriter. When a watchful mother sheep finds the letters, she goes to the post office to learn more about the author. The canine postmaster snarls at the idea of helping reveal the wolf’s identity, but then the wolf himself shows up to collect his mail. The mother forces the wolf to write a goodbye letter and then her family moves to Australia.
The book is written for ages 3 to 8, with the appropriate audience probably falling on the top half of that age range. Although my daughter will never use the Internet in our home unattended before her teen years, who knows what occurs at a friend’s house.
Sure, I know kids can be clever. I’ll probably use some combination of safety measures for my computer such as locating the PC in our family room, and using a software lock, browser filter or power cord lock. Or maybe install logging software that tracks activity without a trace. Am I invading my child’s privacy? Damn straight. That’s my job as a parent. Still, there’s no substitute for raising an aware and wise child you can trust.
A hat tip goes to an unnamed employee of a social networking site who ran across Dear Little Lamb in a bookstore. H/She writes::
As someone who feels responsibility in protecting kids, but often feel helpless at communicating same, this picture book felt ‘honest.’ I was impressed by how naturally and entertainingly (not preachy) a story in clear service to a social agenda could be told. It seems that it’s a benign way to discuss a very real safety issueâ€”and it squarely places responsibility on the parents, where it belongs (IMHO)."
Dear Little Lamb is sold on Amazon, but sometimes you save buying it from an independent book store through AbeBooks.com (if the price is right, Amazon is out-of-stock, or you just want to support independent stores).