A new TV show aimed at kids ages 9- to 14-years-old will focus on sexual harassment, but American parents shouldn’t expect to catch it anytime soon. Jams is a new series produced by Rai Kids, an Italian kids network, and it’s slated to debut in Italy sometime in 2019. The goal of the show is to help children understand and deal with the complex issues surrounding sexual harassment.
The first episode will focus on “an 11-year-old girl named Joy who is harassed by a powerful family friend, a lawyer who plays football with her father.” It’s groundbreaking for the Italian Rai Kids network, and while billed as “the world’s first kids show about sexual harassment,” it’s hardly the first TV show in the world to deal with sexual harassment for a younger audience. From 1972 thru 1997, ABC featured the famous After School Special series, many of which dealt with themes about sexual discrimination, assault, and harassment. Still, the After School Special series stopped airing in 1997 and there hasn’t been a similar mainstream TV series in the US aimed at tackling such sensitive issues since.
While Jams certainly won’t fill the void for American kids (at least not until somebody makes a version here), it is encouraging that new programming is being developed anywhere that address issues kids might be unwilling to talk about in school. Recently, a third-grade teacher in Los Angeles used children’s drawings to help teach her students about consent. And for parents who don’t want to rely on TV or movies, there are several good children’s books about consent, too like Sex Is a Funny Word and No Means No!
Some of those old After School Specials are still available on DVD, too. Though you might want to pre-screen them before you watch them with your kids, if only to prep yourself for hard questions they might have about hairstyles in the 1980s.