Debt's true damage to children
Problem debt is putting stress on family relationships, damaging children and trapping families in a downward spiral of borrowing, according to The Debt Trap: Exposing the impact of problem debt on children, a new report from The Children's Society and StepChange Debt Charity.12 May 2014
Two and a half million children live in families with problem debt, who are behind on £4.8 billion of household bills and loan repayments. A further five million children are in families that are struggling to keep up with repayments and risk falling behind.
This new report – backed by the Archbishop of York – for the first time lifts the lid on the devastating impact debt can have on children. Their findings show that children are suffering worry and anxiety, bullying and going without essentials as their families are trapped in problem debt.
The report reveals the numerous ways that debt affects children's lives:
- Bullying - Children in families with problem debt are more than twice as likely to be unhappy at school and be bullied because they don’t have the same things as their friends.
- Worry - More than half of children (58%) in families with problem debt say they worry about their family’s financial situation
- Family - Half of children in families with problem debt (47%) say it causes arguments in the family.
- Going without - Nine out of ten families in problem debt say they have had to cut back on essentials like food, clothing or heating for their children in order to keep up repayments.
- Early exposure to debt - More than half of children aged 10 to 17 said they saw advertising for loans ‘often’ or ‘all of the time’. But only one in five children said that their school had taught them about money management and debt.