Limiting TV Time: A Family Dinner Table Talk

09/16/2011 10:47 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

This week, we learned that SpongeBob, representing a certain vein of fast-paced children’s television, is bad for little brains. Or wait, is it only causing problems for little brains of children under six? However you interpret this much-discussed study out of Northwestern, it’s another reason why to find something else to do (books, anyone?) instead of channel-surfing. And, we don’t just mean watching more educational programming on an iPad. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children should only one or two hours of quality programming daily.

So, with 27 new shows starting this Fall, Gossip Girl coming back, Dance Moms being utterly addictive (yes, to us too), where do you draw the line? This week, let’s talk about screen time – how much is too much and are there ways to make the most of it?

  • What are the rules in your house when it comes to “screen-time”? How is it different at your friends’ houses?
  • If you could pick one TV show to watch a week, what would it be? Why?
  • What do you think the benefits of TV are?
  • What are the downsides to watching TV?
  • Could you go an entire week without TV?

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In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

To see last week's Family Dinner Download, click here.

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For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (