A new study that examines media consumption among the footie-pajama set may provide a clue to the root cause of an ongoing ratings drought wreaking havoc on kids' cable ratings. According to a research report from Miner & Co. Studio, televisions are no longer the screen of choice for kids who have ready access to tablets and smartphones. More than half (57%) of parents surveyed said their children now prefer to watch video on a handheld device rather than on TV. Mobile devices are so popular with kids that nearly half of the 800 parents quizzed by Miner & Co. reported that they confiscate their kids' tablets when they act up and make them watch TV instead, thereby fostering a sort of Pavlovian response that equates TV with punishment. (That these parents simply don't restrict their kids' access to video altogether when they misbehave suggests that they're raising a generation of spoiled content junkies, but that's another story.) Some kids are so obsessed with the small screen that they'll even forego treats for another few minutes with their portable video device. When given the choice between spending quality time with the tablet or having dessert, 41% of the parents surveyed said their kids would pick the screen over the snack.
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