A new photo posted to the Duggar family's social media has viewers questioning whether the kids are being allowed to watch more television these days. The family has always maintained that they keep a certain distance from media, and Michelle Duggar has repeatedly fielded questions about how she justifies having no television set in the home while putting her family on television for public consumption. However, recently, some family members have indicated that they have more than passing knowledge of popular shows and movies.
Many of these indicators have come from the older Duggar siblings who have married and moved out, and are, of course, no longer bound by the Duggar household rules. Others have come from Duggar family in-laws, who were never bound by these rules. Still, viewers have questioned whether this indicates a deviation from Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's child-rearing philosophy, or simply the effect of kids growing up, branching out, and making decisions for themselves.
However, on Saturday, the Duggar Family Official Facebook page released a series of new photos, including one of 7-year-old Josie Duggar holding a small dog. The caption described the photo as Josie and her 'dress-up friend' -- the dog is wearing a pink jacket, but some readers were more concerned with a different puppy: the one on Josie's shirt.
Many commenters noticed that Josie Duggar's shirt bore the image of Chase, one of the puppies who is a featured character on the Nick Jr. cartoon Paw Patrol. They began to question whether the Duggar family is now allowing the kids to watch secular cartoons.
One viewer commented, "Interesting she has a Paw Patrol shirt on. I would have thought that'd be way too worldly."
Other commenters mentioned that the Duggar family shops at thrift stores, and that perhaps the shirt was simply chosen for having a puppy on it, but the shirt doesn't have the well-worn look children's clothing from thrift shops often has.
Another recent photo series showed Jana, Jessa, Jinger, and friends visiting Magnolia Market -- a business owned by fellow reality stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. Jessa Duggar Seewald has previously gushed over the Gaines' show, Fixer Upper.Of course, Jessa is out of the Duggar home and no longer subject to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's television rules, and at the time of these photos, Jinger Duggar Vuolo had been out of her parents' home for a few months, which is long enough to become attached to a TV show. For Jana Duggar, however, to have an affinity for the show, almost certainly means she's been watching it in her parents' home.
The Duggar Family Blog explains that the family dumped television in the early years of Jim Bob and Michelle's marriage, after being told by a marriage counselor that it would be a problem. They say they tried having it again later, found themselves "addicted" to watching, and got rid of it again.
Since then, the family has mentioned that they do watch movies together, but do not subscribe to cable services. Jessa Duggar Seewald reiterated this in 2015, saying their family had never had cable services and that she and her husband Ben were continuing that tradition. She said they would occasionally watch movies together, but that they tried to keep that to a minimum as well.
However, a video she posted in December shows that Jessa may have relaxed on this Duggar tradition herself. At least it's clear that she watches some shows (Fixer Upper again, in this case) on her laptop, allows one-year-old Spurgeon to watch, and finds "addiction" to watching less of a horror story and more of a humorous caption.Both Fixer Upper and Paw Patrol are available on DVD, so it's certainly possible that's still how the Duggar family is watching. It's also possible Josie Duggar is just wearing a cute t-shirt, and that she's never seen the show.
The one conclusion that is clear, though, is that the Duggar family is at a minimum allowing their children to watch some cable shows (even if only when released on DVD) and to connect their lives to these shows through family trips, clothing, and accessories.