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My Trip to Silicon Valley for an Inside Look at the Future of Kids' TV‏

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As a mother to a one-year-old and being a part-time party girl, I'd like to consider myself pretty hardcore when it comes to endurance of sleepless nights. But no-one warned me about baby jet-lag. Now that is a killer.

And arriving at the Los Gatos hotel in San Francisco with the remainders of projectile vomit on my business suit after a 12 hour flight with my family, I was ready to join the other mummy bloggers from every corner of the world to brainstorm the future of family entertainment at Silicon Valley.

To be honest, I barely get the chance to watch entertainment shows outside of Sesame Street, with the odd catch up of the Kardashians and Downton Abbey thrown in for good measure.
So during our stream team gathering at Netflix headquarters I gasped as I realised terrestrial/linear TV could become obsolete, as we move towards an era of streaming family movies and kids' programmes - all at the click of a button.

Now surely in embracing streaming, it is like saying goodbye to the gramophone, to our LPs of the Jackson 5 and Beatles on vinyl, to Blockbuster video stores that we loved so much in the 90s closing down, and making way for something newer and shinier?

While it's so easy to hang on to the nostalgia of the good old days of watching a movie on a physical video, hunting for that remote control that has fallen behind the sofa for movie night, it's what's already out there and what is coming in the future for mums that has really got me excited.

Streaming is so fast, and as a mum, a quick fix remedy to entertaining and educating a child, and in my case a life-saver for my jet-lagged little'un thanks to shows like Strawberry Shortcake.

But what's stopping us from being bold and trying new things?

In many cases it's about getting over the initial fear factor of not knowing what you're doing. Once it's been broken down and explained how simple streaming really is, then you're good to go.

As we grilled the suits responsible for putting together and co-ordinating what shows are available to our kids, there was no holding back when it came to issues of parental control, and how to use the TV as a tool for parents to educate their kids as well as have quality family time.

One of the most important things for parents in everyday life is keeping your kids entertained while you can A, do the house work and make dinner, B, get a cheeky and well deserved extra hour in bed, C, keep them from brawling in the back of a car during a long journey or in the school holidays when they are bored.

Now these are actually concerns from parents internationally all echoed from my new mummy blogger friends from LA, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, New York, Canada and the Netherlands as we quizzed the CEO of the company, the people commissioning the programmes and putting together the Just for Kids section.

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Stream Team mummy bloggers.
Copyright Sarah Tetteh.

Luckily for us mums, they revealed all the new Disney shows are coming exclusively to Netflix (Mickey Mouse and Friends can do no wrong in my household), and original shows like House of Cards, Arrested Development and classic movies tailored to each member of the family too created through personal profiles.

Knowing all this, will the remote control become a dinosaur and be replaced by the mouse?
I can't imagine not watching an England football game live on TV, though these days these can all be streamed live too. Then there's once in a lifetime events like the Royal Wedding of Prince Wills and Kate, which we all gathered around the box to watch at street parties around the world.

So while it's ok to hang on to some aspects of the past, it's important to be careful we don't miss out on what future opportunities and technology developments are coming. We should not be scared of the jargon, providers need to break things down so that even grandparents are able to enjoy the benefits of getting their favourite shows on demand when they want to watch them.

Another dominating topic from our debate was how can we control what our kids are watching?
Interestingly, many parents have requested a parental control pin to prevent their kids watching shows containing sex, violence, swearing and drugs. And of those parents, the staggering truth is only around 1 per cent actually use the pin code, but they just like the idea of having it there just in case.

That begs the question, do we trust our kids to watch the shows that are age appropriate? Older children love to get a bit curious afterall. Or do we run a police state in our homes where children are banned from watching shows, but can easily go to their friends' houses, and watch something far more inappropriate on Youtube?

Perhaps better descriptions of the shows will help parents decide what their kids can watch, and there is always Common Sense Media, a chartable organisation that gives their verdict on shows in advance too.

So how do parents like to watch their shows?

It's my Apple Iphone that is so often a life-saver for me to log into a show like Jake and the Neverland Pirates when we're on the move to keep the little one entertained. The most popular way of streaming kids' shows is actually on the Apple Ipad which I often see my mummy friends whip out at the coffee shop, and toddlers navigating around it themselves. Meanwhile many dads prefer to use the Wii and Xbox to watch their favourite shows at the click of the button. Oh, and I hear the Apple TV is all the rage leaving me wondering where they are hoping to take this technologically in the next few years. Ooh get me.

Either way I'm sure in 30 years time we'll be looking back and saying remember the time when there were all those adverts on the box, and we had to rush home at 7.30pm to catch an episode of EastEnders?

That era will be long gone.

You watch, we'll be streaming our movies from our fancy spaceships in no time.
Beam me up Scottie.

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Copyright Sarah Tetteh.