"The iPads are cool," says a young boy flipping through apps on a tablet. "TV's not good. Because you can't control it."
He adds, in summary: "Well, basically, the TV sucks."
A new report from media research consulting firm Miner & Co. Studio boils down to just that. The company conducted a survey to find out how kids really want to consume their content. And they want to consume it with their hands.
"With a tablet I have more freeness to move my fingers," says another young boy sitting on a couch, face aglow in tablet light. "With the TV I have to get up and change it," he huffs.
The results of Miner & Co.'s survey showed that in households with smartphones and tablets to play with, TV has become the second screen for young viewers.
"We were hearing anecdotally parents talking about intriguing new behaviors, because kids were so enamored of iPads," CEO Robert Miner, whose company consults for two dozen major networks, told CBS News. "All our clients are watching this rapid erosion in their TV audience. We often look at kids as the canary in coal mine."
A recent study by researchers from the pediatrics department of Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia found that more than one-third of babies are tapping and swiping on smartphones and tablets before they can walk or talk. By age two, the majority of kids are using digital devices, watching TV and playing video games. Almost 40 percent of four year olds use mobile devices for at least an hour a day.
Companies have certainly noticed, with both Vine and YouTube launching apps geared specifically at young users.
Miner surveyed 800 smart device-owning parents in the U.S. with kids between the ages of two and 12. Fifty-seven percent of them said their children would rather watch videos on a tablet or phone than on the television.
The preference is so strong, in fact, that half the parents said they punish their children by taking away the iPad (58 percent of kids have their own) and making them watch TV instead. Remarkably, 41 percent said their kids would choose more time on their tablet over having dessert. As one little girl reasons in the video Miner put together after interviewing many of the survey respondents, "I mean, it's one cookie? I could probably always get another cookie."
Given what he'd heard before going in and what he knows about the direction media is taking, with mobile and streaming video booming, Miner wasn't shocked to see how important devices were to kids. But he was surprised at how the parents embraced it.
"We thought we might see some concern that kids were being so thoroughly drawn into the interactive space," he said. Instead, "the parents were pleased and see the benefit of this as well. Parents were as enamored with this tablet utilization as their kids were. They were seeing a lot of precocious learning."
Kids with tablets use spelling and reading skills while typing and searching, along with counting to keep track of their apps and tally page views.
Miner believes that children are showing us the future of television -- and it's not on television. Or at least not only.
"I was in with client a couple weeks ago and they asked me, 'Do you think when they grow up kids will want to watch TV the way we do?' My response was, 'No they are going to want you to deliver TV the way they want it.'"