Monday, September 6, 2010

Restricted? Or free?

I am glad that Manisha Sharma raised this question in her comment to the post, "Lose Control
Why are these children restricted? Are their parents scared of something or someone?
She's talking about the 19 kids of a family living in the U.S (the Duggar family) whose parents are raising them at home and have restricted the kids' TV and internet access. 

Thank you Manisha! Your comment highlights the other view to the story.

Imposing restrictions on your kids to the extent that you restrict their television and internet access may seem too much for some. People have criticized this behaviour saying that these kids would end up having no real exposure to the world we live in. But come to think of it, we did survive as humans before these two media started ruling our lives. We were probably more human, more us, more free than we are now. The media often creates a twisted view of the world. Who's to say it gives authentic exposure?

Also, these kids are being home schooled. So, they are being taught about life and the world, albeit in a different way.
Michelle Duggar (the mother) notes, "The older child gets to become a teacher. And it seems like you learn so much more when you're the teacher than when you're just the student."
 And yes, I think the parents are scared of something - they are probably scared of the impact of the media and the culture it propagates. They perhaps want to keep their children away from it and give them space to develop their own thoughts, impressions and opinions of the world. 

Aren't we too used to doing our own thing? That stubborn teenager in us does not like to be told "Don't do that!" But while being that rebel, we may ignore someone else's different, but insightful view point. It might even be useful to us. But we turn a deaf ear just to preserve our notion of freedom - the freedom to be able to do what we wish to. Some people say that the children are captives in their own home. I think that's a third person's view. If the kids themselves say that one day, I'd be more inclined to reconsider my position. As of now, they have been seen as one big happy family, full of humor and laughter.

So, are these kids restricted? Or are they free?


  1. Some of my nieces and nephews have been home schooled. It's definitely more freedom for the parents to decide what their kids hear, but I would argue it's a severe restriction on the childhoods of the kids.

  2. @ Ben: I see your point. And personally, I wouldn't do that to my kids :) Having said that, I think you restrict someone when you are stopping them from doing something that should be done and I am not sure if watching TV or internet are essential when kids are growing up. Though, in today's media dominated world, kids should probably have some exposure to it. Maybe after a certain age they should be allowed to make that decision on their own. So do you advocate home schooling?


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