ANENT Andrew Heatlie’s letter concerning the proposal to raise the maximum age young people can be referred to the Children’s Panel (June 20). He asks “Do the little snowflakes we have now need wrapping in cotton wool?”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired of the casual ageism that’s directed at young people these days, “snowflake” being one of the terms that’s used by some older people to denigrate young people and dismiss the very real difficulties and struggles they face; and “little snowflakes” is even worse.

Ageism is often talked about as if it’s only about prejudice and discrimination against older people, but ageism goes in the other direction too – and that form is far more accepted, in my experience. Discrimination and prejudice against young people exists in all kinds of settings, including the workplace, and can of course be reflected in/betrayed by the language used about and towards young people – hence the need for us to challenge it.

READ MORE: Letters, June 20

As someone who’s just turned 60 and who doesn’t have children, I have to say I would hate to be a young person nowadays – some of the challenges faced by children and young people today may be (or seem to be) different from the ones previous generations faced, but that doesn’t make them any less deserving of attention or empathy. Also, I reckon that we should be grateful to children and young people for driving the movement for climate change, among other things. Yet look at the vilification someone like Greta Thunberg receives – it’s riddled with ageism!

Like Andrew Heatlie’s grandfather, my grandfather also lied about his age in order to join the army, and he too fought in the trenches. Personally, I don’t think using their example to belittle younger generations who didn’t go through what they did is a good way of remembering them or honouring the sacrifices they and many others made.

Mo Maclean