If you watch Counting On online, you know that the Duggar family enforces a very strict set of household rules, many of which pertain to media consumption.
Yes, despite the fact that they’ve made a fortune from their reality TV shows, the Duggars are extremely protective with regard to the way their children use the Internet and watch television.
Duggar kids aren’t allowed to have social media accounts until they’re married, and as far as television goes, if it doesn’t star Jesus or a claymation dog talking about Jesus, it’s pretty much off limits.
Or perhaps we should say that was the case, as these days it looks like Jim Bob and Michelle are enforcing a considerably more lax set of rules.
Prior to the Josh Duggar sex scandals that cost them a fair amount of parenting cred, the Duggars were happy to share their child-rearing techniques with an army of disturbingly loyal fans.
Some rules were better known then others (girls are forbidden to wear pants and forced to stick to skirts; no physical contact beyond “side-hugs” is permitted before marriage), and there’s one that left many Duggar obsessives deeply confused.
Michelle and Jim Bob say they don’t allow “worldly” influences such as television in their home.
The couple says they got rid of their TV early in their marriage and found that they were happier without it.
They gave television another try a few years ago but got tossed it a second time after feeling that they were becoming “addicted” to watching it.
Jessa Duggar says her generation has followed suit, and that while she occasionally watches TV shows online, she and her husband Ben Seewald do not own a television.
The weird TV phobia has long been viewed as one of the most Ned Flanders-y and hypocritical aspects of the strict Duggar dogma, but the family says they stand by their decision despite the appearance of mixed messages.
Which is why so many fans were surprised to see the above photo of 7-year-old Josie Duggar has so many fans confused.
At first glance, it’s just a simple photo of Josie holding a small puppy.
But some eagle-eyed fans were quick to point out that Josie is wearing a shirt emblazoned with a character from the Nickelodeon series Paw Patrol.
“Interesting she has a Paw Patrol shirt on. I would have thought that’d be way too worldly,” one fan commented.
Some hypothesized that it may have been a thrift store find, while others pointed out that the shirt appears to be brand new.
Of course, this is a photo on the Duggars’ Facebook page, so there was more than just one controversy.
One fan pointed out that Josie appears to need braces (In fairness, she claimed to be an orthodontist.), while others expressed concern for the dog:
“I really dislike any child playing dress up with small dogs,” wrote one follower.
“Little breeds have such delicate bones and should never be carried around by children!”
We’re beginning to think the real reason the Duggars don’t allow media in their home is that they dislike the constant reminders that they’re less than perfect.
Maybe the White House should employ a similar strategy!