|Enlisting under-18s - the issues|
Is it exploiting young people, who often come from severely disadvantaged backgrounds, to recruit them into the armed forces, or does it provide them with valuable opportunities to develop their potential?
A case for recruiting under-18s
Those who support military recruitment of young people under 18 might point out the potential of the armed forces to provide opportunities, perhaps especially to those who might be socially vulnerable and/or at risk of offending, addiction or anti-social behaviour. They say the armed forces provide:
The armed forces point out that where statutory services have failed to impact young people, the armed forces often succeed. They also say they would face severe shortages if they didn't recruit 16- and 17-year olds because once young people reach 18 many fewer choose forces careers over civilian ones.
A case against recruting under-18s
Those who say that the armed forces are bad for young people emphasise the risks, difficulties and restrictive legal obligations, as well as the ethical issues involved in training young people to kill. For example, young people joining the armed forces face:
Critics say that under-18s are less able than adults to make maturely responsible decisions, especially those involving risk or significant commitment - allowing under-18s to join the armed forces is out of step with the times. They might point out that under-18s are not allowed to join any of the civil emergency services, nor may they sign a contract (in England and Wales), buy alcohol or tobacco, or vote in a General Election. They also point out that the UK is the only European Union country to recruit 16 year-olds into the forces.
Of course a military career can seem exciting and can work out well for some but it doesn't for others. Potential recruits and their parents/guardians should know as much as possible about military life before the decision whether to join, which should ideally be a fully informed choice made by the whole family.
The armed forces produce guides for parents of potential recruits; these can be helpful but do not answer the more difficult questions. Use this site and ask as many questions as possible.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 07 January 2012 17:28|