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To Kidfinity and beyond? iPad bests all brands among 6- to 12-year-olds

Research company Smarty Pants asked kids and moms about their favorite brands. Disney cracks kids' top 10, but McDonald's may need a happy meal: It only ranks 15th.

A child and his iPad cannot be torn asunder. This is true and undying love. Allegedly. SmartyPants screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Kids care most about the basics.

They want happy colors in their life. They want fun. They want sustenance.

Who could possibly be surprised, therefore, that their choice of No. 1 brand for 2014 would be McDonald's? Except that it isn't.

According to family research company Smarty Pants (PDF), 6- to 12-year-olds are most deeply in love with the iPad.

This might confirm your most painful fears for the world. Young minds and fingers are so attached to Apple's little gadget that even food comes secondary in their souls.

Indeed, in this study, runners-up were Hershey's, Oreos, M&Ms, Doritos, Cheetos and Skittles. Disney staggered in at No. 8.

The once venerable McDonald's ranked at a seedy 15th place. Ronald, stare into your mirror and ask yourself: "Why so serious?"

You might imagine that Smarty Pants just asked one or two kids who didn't bother looking up from their iPads. However, the company spoke to 6,661 children in the US across a three-month period, and 256 brands were evaluated. Each was assigned a so-called Kidfinity (oooh, trademarked) score, which measures such beautiful intangibles as love, popularity and brand awareness.

Could it be that, since its inception, the iPad has always wrapped itself around kids' hearts? It seems not. It began its life in 109th place.

One of the essences of the iPad's glory, as far as the researchers are concerned, is that it makes the kids feel independence. Well, we all knew that parenting skills had generally fallen to the level of the grunt and the sigh.

You might, I suspect, want to clutch at a straw of salvation. Let me offer you, then, the results of the moms survey. They have their own Momfinity (oh, of course it's trademarked) score.

The great and harried protectors of the last dribbles of civilization weren't going to make iPad their favorite brand, were they?

Oh, no. iPad came in at a measured No. 30. For moms, it was Crayola that made their hearts swell most.

Closely followed by Hershey's, M&Ms and Oreos. That last sentence was not a joke. Quite blissfully, Google came in fifth.

Can moms turn back the Apple Watch of time and draw kids away from their iPads and back toward the great traditions of Crayola? My best research-free estimate is no.

There is one, last scary thought, though, upon which food companies might capitalize: can we now blame the iPad for the child obesity crisis?