When it comes to courting, the Duggars have some pretty strict rules that don't even allow private texting — but what about FaceTime? In the Duggar family, most of the kids who are ready to start dating have started seeing someone relatively close by, whether it was a family friend like Austin Forsyth or Kendra Caldwell or someone who just lived within driving distance for weekend trips. (We're looking at you, Ben Seewald.) But what happens when a couple doesn't live all that close together before they get hitched, like Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard? How do they keep in touch enough to start courting from two very different places?
Well, apparently, they use FaceTime and Skype. But, like texting, it's not exactly a free-for-all. Just because they're not going out to eat and bringing a chaperone (or a few) along, it doesn't mean they're without supervision. After all, the Duggars do have cell phones, but they come with some pretty strict rules about using them. The phones are basically dumbed down to just allow for the basic needs like phone calls, texting, email, and maps — there's no internet access through Safari or anything like that. "Young men would have more of a struggle seeing bad stuff, so what we've done with the smartphones is that we've … actually locked out Safari and any Internet search at all, and then we've just had basic apps," Jim Bob Duggar shared an interivew with Covenant Eyes Radio. But we've seen them use FaceTime, which seems like it could lead to some serious temptation — so what's the deal?
Are the Duggars allowed to text and call while courting?
When it comes to texting in the Duggar house, there are always people around. When Ben and Jessa Duggar first started texting, they even included both of her parents in the groupchat so that they could keep an eye on things. Phone conversations, however, come with a little more privacy. "The day Ben and I started courting, we began our tradition of calling each other on the phone every night," Jessa shared about courting in Growing Up Duggar. "These calls were not 'chaperoned.' They were private just between the two of us." Technically, this is supposed to be against the rules, so did the Seewalds just make up their own courtship rules to follow, like Jinger Duggar and Jeremy Vuolo did?
While they were courting, the Dillards relied mainly on Skype to help them get to know each other and see them through the long distance — but they weren't given the same privacy. In fact, there were even moments on the show where we saw Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sitting there watching them. Talk about awkward. But it makes total sense to have your video calls monitored when you're not even allowed to hold hands or give each other side hugs for longer than 20 seconds.
Can the Duggars Skype without a chaperone?
But the couple wrote on their family blog that their first phone call lasted more than five hours — so are we really supposed to believe their parents sat their and supervised the whole thing? Things also apparently changed for Jill and Derick when they got engaged. In another passage from Growing Up Duggar, Jill listed some "do"s and "don't"s when it came to her engagement. And one of those "do"s was "Skype, FaceTime, and phone alone," despite its contradiction with another "do" — "always have a chaperone within line of sight." So was this another example of the kids breaking their parents' strict rules once they'd decided they were ready to get married? Or did the rules get a little more lax as the couples got more serious?
Josiah Duggar and his now-fiancée Lauren Swanson have also been caught FaceTiming. Si even posted a pic of it to his Instagram account. And though they were still just courting at the time, the video call looks pretty private. Like, no chaperones within line of sight, private. The Duggar kids do all loudly proclaim that their phone conversations include plenty of prayer and bible quotes and try to "encourage and edify each other in the Lord," as Jill put it, but sexting and phone sex also has to be a concern for the family. Even if it's as tame as describing how you want to give your girlfriend a front hug for a brief three seconds. Just because they're not exposed to much, it doesn't mean the kids and teens don't still get curious or, you know, even turned on.
So what are the rules exactly? FaceTiming and Skyping are clearly allowed — but do you need a chaperone? Are you allowed to sneak off into your room, close the door, and call up your girlfriend? Or do you really have to sneak because it's completely against the rules, even though you're going to post about it on Instagram later or right about it in your book? When it comes to their parents' strict guidelines, the Duggar kids are no strangers to breaking rules. Josiah alone has broken courtship rules with Lauren more than once. But usually, that kind of rebellion only happens after the kids are married off and their husbands give the girls permission to start wearing pants or shorts or whatever. Knowing what we know of the Duggars, we have to imagine that private, unchaperone video calls are off limits — and that the Duggar kids are even more sneaky than we thought.