Enrolling underage teenagers into the military has “long-lasting and complex effects” on their mental and physical health, child health specialists have stated in the British Medical Journal.
Countries like Britain, Russia, Mexico, and Pakistan all recruit 16-year-olds, though experts specify the UK actually begins the enlistment process at 15 years and 7 months.
They add that the 2-year training starts at 16 then turns into a 4-year service, which lasts until soldiers are 22.
The editorial—co-authored by public health charity Medact—argues this system “capitalises on the ‘window of vulnerability’” adolescents experience in their mid-teens. In this ‘window of vulnerability’, teenagers’ ability to feel fear (and consequently, to assess risk) is impaired.
No other European Union nation recruits below the age of 17; most recruit 18-year-olds.
At what age should people be allowed to join the army?
Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.