Bottlesodes TV: streaming service for kids
Media for kids these days can be tricky; many caregivers struggle to find quality content and to determine the right amount for children to consume. Our friends at Bottlesodes TV have come up with a possible solution–a streaming service for kids that features low-edit content that encourages kids to step away from the screen and follow their own curiosity. We love their ethos, so we spoke with founders Bethany and Joe Sines, to learn more.
Tell us about Bottlesodes TV.
Bottlesodes TV is a streaming service that gives families a safe space to watch healthy media. Giving children screen time has a bad reputation, and there’s a good reason for that. Many parents have had those experiences when they let their child watch something, and they accidentally stumble onto something inappropriate, or they (accidentally or intentionally) buy something without asking. Or–maybe when it’s time to turn off the show they have a meltdown, because they were so overstimulated that their brains struggle to go back to the real world. With Bottlesodes, we want to create a space where parents can teach their children to interact with our digital world in mindful ways. We’re doing that through creating vetted, low-edit content—content that imitates a real conversation, like Mr. Rogers did.
What is the goal of this streaming service?
There’s no question that digital media has completely integrated with our lives. Children today have never known what it’s like to live without screens. There are huge benefits from these technological advances—we don’t want to turn back the clock or remove digital media from children’s lives. Our goal is to take screen time and redeem it; to make it into something that builds up and inspires children; to make it fit right into where they’re at cognitively, socially, and emotionally, rather than bombarding or overstimulating them.
What inspired you to start Bottlesodes TV?
As parents of two children, we have tried a lot of media options out there, but we found some problems with all of them—whether it’s scary or inappropriate stuff just a couple clicks away, relentless ads, or fast-paced content. We wished we could just take the good things from all the apps we like and combine them into one place. We often joked that we should just make our own streaming service so we wouldn’t have to worry about any of that.
We have also seen our children have a really hard time going back to the real world after screen time—they have what we’ve started to refer to as “post-screen meltdowns.” Even if we gave them warnings and tried to end screen time as smoothly as we knew how, our children had a hard time adjusting back to play time no matter what. We thought we were the only family who experienced this, but we’ve learned from other parents that it’s a really common problem. It is absolutely exhausting for young, developing brains to keep up with fast-moving, intense cartoons or shows, to the point where children are unable to perform simple executive functions for several minutes after. Their brains need time to recover. Ideally, media for children shouldn’t have that effect.
With our own experiences as parents and our professional backgrounds—Joe used to work in the film industry, and Bethany has a bachelor’s degree in child development—we realized that, we have the knowledge and the resources to actually build our own streaming service designed to be developmentally appropriate for children.
What does it look like to create videos with children’s development in mind?
There’s a lot to that question that is hard to answer. Many of children’s cartoons and shows are high-edit videos—videos that quickly cut back and forth to a lot of different scenes or images. So, programs on Bottlesodes TV are low-edit: videos with one long shot. We want to tell stories as if the person was there in front of them. That doesn’t mean it’s low energy—it just means the videos feel more like real life because they’re closer to being in real time.
How do you see this streaming service contributing value to the mindful technology community?
Digital media is here to stay. Rather than shunning it, we want to be mindful in how we use digital media with children as a tool to teach and help them engage in real-life experiences. We want Bottlesodes to help children to not just enjoy screen time, but to encourage children to play, enjoy real-world adventures, and try new things after screen time. That’s why it’s so important to us to provide low-edit content—content that feels more like a conversation than a roller coaster.
We talked about Mr. Rogers earlier, and he’s a huge inspiration for us. But we really want to empower parents to fill the role of Mr. Rogers, sharing these stories and lessons and having meaningful conversations with their children. That can happen for ten minutes while parents are sitting with antsy children in a dentist’s waiting room, or it can kick off a family adventure for a few hours on a Saturday morning.
What advice would you give others who are trying to build technology for a better world?
Try to keep your intention and purpose full of integrity. There’s just too much deceit, too much selling out, too much scandal, too much mistrust out there. If you want to actually make a difference—not just make money—you can’t pretend. Especially when you’re working with children, who have a keen inner sense of who’s being genuine or not. You have to actually mean it. You have to be the good that you want to project out there. We truly believe that then, and only then, can people understand you on a deeper level. Then, connections can be made, hearts can be touched, and lessons can be learned.
How do you personally create a tech / life balance?
(Joe) I use a lot of technology for work, so when I come home I try to put my phone down and play with my children or work in my garage. We love being outside. Also, Bethany and I promised no technology while we’re going to bed. This has led to more meaningful conversations and more time to wind down with a book or something calming. I’m not perfect at this, but these smaller things have really helped. I tried a “tech-fast” the other day, and it changed my day. I didn’t touch my phone for 24 hours. I went from worried and depressed to happy and optimistic.
(Bethany) I could go on and on about this one! For starters, I don’t feel like I ever fully strike the perfect balance. It’s a constant effort for me, always present in my mind, especially when my children are home from school. When they’re home, time with them is short, and I want them to feel like I’m present and that they are more important than any other task I have. Some days I feel proud of us for accomplishing that goal, and other days it feels like work will never stay at work. That’s a really hard one to swallow.
I have a love/hate relationship with our devices. They make some things so convenient, but it’s also so hard for me to stick to the boundaries we’ve drawn. I have my phone on silent all the time so I don’t always feel drawn to it. We keep our phones out of our bedroom when we go to bed. And even if some apps would make my life easier, I resist putting them on my phone because I don’t want to become too dependent on it.
What can we expect next from you and how can people follow along?
We’ve spent a long time putting together content and really nailing down what we want Bottlesodes TV to be. Now, we’re ready to move into inviting more families in as Bottlesodes subscribers. We want Bottlesodes to become a tool that parents can use to engage with their children and start conversations. If parents have any ideas for new content or constructive feedback on what we can be doing better, we’d love to hear it on our forums. Check us out for a free trial and see for yourself.
Learn more about Bottlesodes TV by watching the short video below and checking out their streaming service website.
All images from Bottlesodes TV. At Mindful Technology™ we believe in building tech for a better world—and we teach precisely how to do that through our workshops, keynotes, and executive seminars. Join our growing community on Twitter or Instagram; or subscribe to our informative + non-salesy newsletter. 📱🙏🏽💻 (Prefer IRL? We do too! Join our meetup group.)