Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Boy Who Blogged Wolf (or Why We Need Fairy Tales In the Social Media Age) - Article Alert

I read this fun little UK Telegraph article by Shane Richmond on updating fairy tales to teach caution in today's digital age and thought it was not only amusing but also had something to say:

We often hear that new media poses a threat to our children. How do they learn the dangers of online interaction and how do they equip themselves for this new world? We can bore them senseless with school lessons on the subject but if we really want children to be aware of risk we’ll need fairy tales.

For centuries we’ve used fairy tales to teach children not to talk to strangers, to avoid getting lost in the woods and not to break into houses owned by bears. They need updating for the digital age. Here are a few suggestions:

Little Red Riding Hood
When her granny sends her a friend request on Facebook, Little Red Riding Hood doesn’t check the details too closely. When ‘granny’ invites her to a housewarming party at her new shack in the woods, Little Red Riding Hood goes along...

Keep reading HERE.

Mr. Richmond offers updated examples of Red Riding Hood (more people need to read this version), Aladdin (loved this one), The Boy Who Cried Wolf (timely - also see HERE for a cartoon on the subject and below for the notes on the gorgeous illustrations included in this post), Jack and the Beanstalk (the giant is great - and true!) and a Cursed Princess story (this needs to be emailed to as many friends as possible... ;D ).

Make sure you read the comments, as they're still appearing. Eg uzalparker said:

I think you’re missing the one about the Ugly Duckling who’s tweets weren’t as popular as his peers…until he became a tech-savvy swan and used tweet deck to rt the wolf to eat his gloating siblings. Wait, that sounds strangely familiar. (edit FTNH: rt stands for ReTweet)

Aaaand, I feel I must add one too:


Once upon a time there was a teenage Rapunzel, who, stuck (stayed) in her room, only communicating with those who found her isolated blog/Facebook comments/tweets in the middle of the massive internet wood and called up the long, long strands of hairy internet feeds to get her attention. Of course, being so estranged from the real world, the poor girl didn't realize she was being taken advantage of until she got into trouble, at which point her mother cuts off access, so her suitors are left to blindly wander the internet wood looking for her. Her mother, trying to force her to come to terms with her actions, throws her out into the physical world where she wanders until she's eaten by wolves. The End.

Go read, enjoy, think about it... (and if you have any social media cautionary fairy tales feel free to tell us about them in the comments).

NOTE the 1st: The lovely retelling and illustrations of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is from the book "Wolf! Wolf!" by John Rocco (who was also the Art Director on the animated film "Shrek"). Click on the illustrations for a larger view - you should be able to read the text too. The whole book is lovely - I pull it out regularly - and is a very interesting retelling of the story. John Rocco has a great promo site for the book, with sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes info HERE.

NOTE the 2nd: The Telegraph site seems to be having issues showing the page. Keep trying - it's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very cool concept and I like the suggestions! The Wolf! Wolf! art looks terrific, too.