‘Counting On’: Family Critics Don’t Think Michelle Duggar Knows How the Internet Works

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, along with Jessa Duggar, took to a church Livestream to discuss life and raising children last week. The couple stymied family critics when they admitted they continue to monitor the digital lives of their adult children. While most family followers were mulling over the notion that grown men and women are allegedly asking their parents to continue to monitor their online lives, Michelle let a little something else slip through. The mother of 19 suggested that she checks in with her children every evening about what they’ve seen online because seeing “inappropriate content” can happen in an “instant.” The admission has some family critics questioning whether or not Michelle understands how the internet works.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar discussed phone usage during their Livestream

The Duggar family may live very different lives than most of mainstream society, but that doesn’t mean they don’t use technology. All of the older Duggar kids have their own phones and are capable of accessing the internet from laptops and computers, but that doesn’t mean they are free to do as they please. Jim Bob and Michelle have pretty strict safeguards in place.

Jim Bob, in an interview with Covenant Eyes Radio, noted that none of the Duggar boys were allowed to use internet browsers on their phones. The rule appears to have been enacted after Joshua Duggar was caught peaking at content deemed inappropriate. The same rules don’t seem to apply to the lady Duggars, though.

Jim Bob and Michelle stated in the Livestream that they don’t believe the girls in their family struggle with the same things that the young men do. They appear to have more access to the internet because of Jim Bob and Michelle’s assumptions. However, it sounds like they are also heavily monitored, even when they become legal adults.

Michelle doesn’t seem to understand how the internet works

To hear Michelle tell it, you would think a barrage of pornography is just one mistaken click away. Family critics note that Michelle makes it sound like it’s a lot easier than it is to happen upon inappropriate content mistakenly. Some critics even wonder if Michelle accesses the internet often enough to know how it works.

If you look at it from a different angle, though, what Michelle is saying actually makes sense, at least to people within the ultra-conservative Christian ministry that the Duggars belong to. Porn, when an internet browser is unfiltered, is readily available, but it isn’t so ubiquitous that a young child will undoubtedly happen upon it by accident.

Michelle, however, is likely not talking about what most people would consider “inappropriate” content. The family considers anything from a perfume advertisement to a woman in a scoop neck shirt to be inappropriate. These images, most of which wouldn’t raise an alarm bell for most people, are largely considered verboten for the Duggar family. When you look at “inappropriate content” with the eyes of a Duggar, the internet, and just about anything in everyday life, could be deemed troublesome.  

Michelle’s assumptions about the online world might explain why the Duggar kids don’t get social media until marriage

Jessa once claimed that there are no rules about when the Duggar kids can have social media. Blasting News noted that Jessa once claimed that Jana Duggar’s absence on social media for years was just a coincidence and that the family had no strict rules about when an adult Duggar was allowed to use Instagram. Still, family critics are skeptical. All evidence points to the notion that the kids are given access to social media for family marketing purposes once they hit the courting “season of life.”

Michelle’s suggestion that anyone online can run into “inappropriate content” by complete happenstance might explain why the adult children aren’t introduced to social media until they are ready to get married. In short, family critics believe that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar only allow the kids to have social media because it’s part of their business.

That line of thinking may also explain why Jedidiah Duggar and Jana Duggar were both allowed to utilize social media platforms before marriage. Jana has become the face of the Duggar family now that she’s the eldest child at home. Jedidiah didn’t begin to use social media until he announced he would be running for political office. If the family didn’t have a television show to promote, it seems likely that the Duggar kids would experience a social media blackout until they moved out of their parents’ home.