Too much too young?

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WITH 16 and 17-year-olds set to head to the polls for the independence referendum, we asked some East Renfrewshire school children if they thought it was a good idea.

The Extra visited sixth year modern studies pupils at Mearns Castle, and to our surprise, most of the youngsters thought lowering the voting age was a bad idea.

The youngest voters in 2014’s referendum will be 16 years and 10 months, and this could set a precedent for future visits to the polls.

Oliver Traynor (17) is firmly against the lowering of the voting age. He told The Extra: “In general, 16-year-olds are far too naïve. Not enough is taught in school about it.

“In the run up to the referendums, pupils should be taught about the issues in a non-bias way during their lessons”.

He was backed up by classmates Max Durrant and Emma Rae (both 17).

Max added: “At that age, people are just not mature enough and they don’t know about the issues”.

And Emma believes “16-year-olds are not taught enough about the issues in school”.

Alexandra Cowan (16) believes unless teenagers are “living independently and have real responsibilities rather than depending on their parents, then they should not be able to vote”.

However, going against her classmates, Erin Mair (17) believes 16 and 17-year-olds have every right to get the vote.

She said: “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, youngsters will start to be more politically involved and research more.

“There would be a positive knock-on effect if they did get a chance to vote. Besides, if they are deemed responsible enough to have a family, go to war and work for a living, they should be allowed to vote”.

Katie McKenna (17) said: “Adults are far more likely to research the issues and vote accordingly. That would not be high on the list of the priorities of a 16-year-old”.

Max Bercott (17) agrees. He told The Extra: “When people that age rely on their parents so much, it is only natural that they will be influenced by them.

“The voting age is fine where it is. At 18, that’s when people begin to become truly independent”.

According to Greg Henderson, 16-year-olds “Would not understand the implications of what they are voting for. Typically, they live with their mum and dad and go to school. A lot of what is on the line at a referendum or election does not apply to them”.