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National Day Of Unplugging: A Family Dinner Table Talk

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/23/2012 12:47 pm Updated: 03/26/2012 1:25 pm

Family Dinner Download

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

This week's Family Table Talk is also a challenge. Can you -- every single one of you -- unplug for the next 24 straight hours? That doesn’t mean just taking electronics out of their sockets. Starting tonight, we're asking you to put away all the gadgetry that connects you to the digital world. Parents, stop checking your email. Kids, you're done texting. Everyone off Twitter, Angry Birds and, last but not least, Google.

Yes, as part of this challenge, we're asking you to also keep a diary of everything you have the urge to use the Internet for. Senior editor Lori Fradkin tried to do this last year, and she wrote down 11 things she would have looked up. But, she gained something greater from being offline -- peace, quiet, focus...

So why today? Thanks go to The Sabbath Manifesto, a group of Jewish artists who were looking for a more modern way to institute a weekly day of rest. They've called March 24th the 3rd Annual National Day of Unplugging -- a time to “unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and get with loved ones.”

As of 2010, kids were already spending almost 8 hours a day with an electronic device. Adults feel the onslaught too. Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain says that she "was never quite focused with [her] kids" and knew it had reached a crisis point when she started "tweeting and texting in my dreams." Now, she unplugs with her family every week (!). Are you ready to try it?

Let's talk about what unplugging will be like tonight at the family table. Then, don't return to this screen for one full day. When you do come back online ON SUNDAY, send your DIDN'T DO list to parents@huffingtonpost.com. We can't wait to hear how it goes!

Questions for discussion:
  • What will be most difficult to unplug from?
  • What kinds of activities will you do during your unplugged time?
  • How do you feel when you don't have technology immediately available?
  • What benefits will you get from unplugging?

This Week's Recipe:
Each week, we give you something to talk about at dinner time, and now, something to eat too! Tonight's recipe comes to us from Kitchen Daily: Fish And -- Literally! -- Chips.

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In her The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family meals 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. 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.

Click here to see last week's Family Table Talk

Subscribe to receive HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads by email every Friday afternoon.

Family Dinner Download

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 (thefamilydinnerbook.com).

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