The newest toys can read kids’ minds, which is something to think about the next time you buy a gift for a child. This could be a powerful tool to teach kids the ability to focus their minds and it might help correct a major problem: studies show that children as young as 3 months old are watching too much TV.

A new video game has a sensor that, when it touches a child’s forehead, can read his brain’s electrical signals, then send them to a receiver, which lights up. As long as the child concentrates, the lights stay on, but when his mind wanders, the lights go off. A lot of kids are “zoning out” during their free time: a new study has found that a large number of parents are allowing their very young children to watch television, DVDs or videos so that by 3 months of age, 40% of infants are regular viewers.

That number jumps to 90% percent of 2-year-olds. Researcher Frederick Zimmerman says, “Exposure to TV takes time away from more developmentally appropriate activities such as a parent or adult caregiver and an infant engaging in free play with dolls, blocks or cars. While appropriate television viewing at the right age can be helpful for both children and parents, excessive viewing before age 3 has been shown to be associated with problems of attention control, aggressive behavior and poor cognitive development. Early television viewing has exploded in recent years, and is one of the major public health issues facing American children.”

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