A child protection group is launching a television service that it hopes will help prevent sex abuse scandals like the one engulfing Penn State University's football team.
The AmberWatch Foundation's video on demand channel on Cablevision, which launches on Tuesday, is thought to be the first interactive cable channel devoted entirely to educating parents and children about the dangers of molestation, abduction and cyberbullying.
Featuring videos, information and presentations by the likes of Disney Channel teen star Selena Gomez and other celebrities, it hopes to empower children, educators and caregivers and give them the tools they need to avoid potentially harmful situations.
We are thrilled that we are able to have this platform that everybody can contribute to, and raise awareness, so that if (someone) sees a little boy getting raped in a bathroom, he doesn't go home and tell his dad, but goes and breaks it up, said Keith Jarrett, chief executive of the AmberWatch Foundation, noting the scandal at Penn State.
Although the channel was a year in the making, AmberWatch Foundations officials said Tuesday's unveiling in New York couldn't have come at a more appropriate time given the abuse case surrounding Penn State and its football program.
Penn State former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged last week with the rape or indecent assault of eight boys, and two university officials were charged with perjury and failing to report a crime. All three deny the charges. Longtime head football coach Joe Paterno was fired.
Jarrett told Reuters he hoped that AmberWatch TV will be a place where people can have a conversation, and offer solutions and ideas, and really take these tragic stories and try to figure out how to stop them from happening.
AmberWatch TV will be available to Cablevision's nearly three million digital cable customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on iO TV Channel 625 by the end of November.
The Foundation hopes to expand the service in the future to other U.S. cable service providers.
The AmberWatch Foundation was founded in 2004 to keep children safe from abduction and predators. It has more than three million members in the United States and counts Gomez and Everybody Loves Raymond actor Ray Romano among its supporters.