How Payday Loan Ads Are Affecting Our Kids


For years now, I’ve found it completely unacceptable that payday loan companies should be allowed to advertise on television at all, let alone in the daytime. A recent experience however has drastically reinforced my view on this point and if I’m being honest, also had me seething.

My wife has talked to me often about how much she can see that advertising has a massive effect on our children. We’ve recently tried to limit the amount of advertising they see by cutting the cord and trying to watch as little live TV as possible. Sometimes though, if there’s something we all like to watch, we do still watch the odd live program – we still have a TV license by the way. We also can’t get away from the fact that some catch-up services still show ads in their programs. Anyway, on with the main point of this post.

The other day, my wife told me that my son had been affected by a certain payday loan ad on the television. This particular advert gives the impression that when you’re struggling to make ends meet in a month, a certain payday loan company will be there to save the day – yeah, right! My wife was bathing our boys when my eldest son who is 6 years old said “Mum, I just want you to know that if the car ever breaks down and you don’t have the money to fix it then you don’t need to worry, you just need to pick up the phone and call ………. and they’ll put the money you need into your bank right away”. (There’s no chance I’m mentioning their company name!)

This comment shocked me to the core. Obviously we explained to our son that there are some companies out there who try and trick you into thinking that they are going to help you, when actually they’re really not, but the fact that such a simple advert can affect our kids thinking so much is quite shocking, don’t you think?

This just goes to show exactly how much information our kids are taking in at such a young age, and also why we have to be so careful about the things we allow them to watch on the TV, tablets and other devices like smartphones. It also shows how much effort we need to put into training our kids financially, to counteract all of the rubbish they are being fed on a daily basis. Finally, I think that this experience should encourage TV companies to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the moral message of the ads that they show. If they are not brave enough – or moral enough – to take a stand and ban ads from payday loan companies on their channels, then they could at least have the moral gumption not to show them at a time of day when kids are likely to see them, the people who sadly are the most likely to have their minds infected by the unrealistic message these ads send.

Note: I banned payday loan ads from showing on this blog a long time ago, even though I knew it would negatively affect my blog income – if you ever see one please let me know so I can block it!

I don’t often have a rant on my blog, so I hope you’ll forgive this outburst. I just felt that this is one point that I simply had to mention. It’s just sad that my outburst is unlikely to change anything and that if payday loan companies are reading this they are probably rubbing their hands together, knowing how much their ads are boosting the amount of potential business they are likely to gain from future generations. 🙁

6 Responses to How Payday Loan Ads Are Affecting Our Kids

  1. Jack says:

    I hear you.

    I cut the cord quite a while ago and have never looked back. Commercials these days are so blaring and intrusive, regardless of their ethics, it drove me to commercial-free content like Netflix.

    Now that I have a family, I’m especially happy to have eliminated commercials from our home. Our children will be bombarded enough by them out in the world, at least we have a safe space to come home to.

    I’m glad he told you about what he’s thinking so you can set him straight. Imagine how much worse it would have been if he turned 18 and went out in the world thinking whenever he had money problems he could just call the helpful neighborhood legalized loan shark.

    • Adam Buller says:

      Yep, I’m definitely going down the commercial-free route these days Jack. I notice so much how it affects the kids and I just think they’re better off without it. I do take any opportunity I can to make sure they understand why, though.

  2. Jake says:

    Thanks Adam. That’s a really interesting story, and sorry that you’re seeing an impact at home from these type of adverts.

    The advertising regulator are currently consulting on whether to restrict what TV shows payday loan ads can be shown near. The Children’s Society are running a campaign to allow people to respond to this consultation. The below link will take you through to their campaign action where you can use their standard text and add some of your own story or you can just respond separately to the consultation.

  3. Mrs Groovy says:

    Adam, I’d be angry too. Yet this is exactly how advertising works on us as adults, too. If you think about the product long enough to come to a conclusion that it can improve your life, well then, they’ve done their job. The best education your son is getting is from watching how you and your wife handle money and live your lives. I’m glad you didn’t dismiss his comment, which others might be inclined to do.

    • Adam Buller says:

      Hey Mrs Groovy! Yeah, I totally agree that it’s just as easy for adults to fall into the trap. It’s not just these kind of ads where we see the effects on our boys either, they’ve mentioned certain cleaning products and other things to us in the same way too! We’ll just keep trying to make sure they understand what these companies are trying to do and also to shield them where we can. Thanks for the comment.

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