Above sad girl -Young people are "our future" says NCH ScotlandA leading children's charity has called for action to stamp out age discrimination against young people.
NCH Scotland is urging the Scottish Parliament to change legislation which allows the "reasonable" physical punishment of children.
It said it was wrong that adults enjoy greater legal protection from assault.
The charity also wants ministers to analyse what impact new legislation passed at Holyrood will have on children and young people.
Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) outlines children's rights to be protected from discrimination.
This has never been incorporated into UK law.
The call is included in response to an inquiry into age discrimination being conducted by the Scottish Parliament's equal opportunities committee.
The charity wants to see the introduction of community-based schemes which bring older and younger people together to help build stronger and more positive relationships.
NCH Scotland claims negative stereotyping surrounding young people is largely due to associations with anti-social behaviour and troublemaking, and means the young can be "demonised" as a result.
The charity was also quick to point out that fewer than one per cent of all young people were involved in persistent offending.
'Stake in society'
Andrew Girvan, director of children's services for the charity, said: "Age discrimination is usually seen as a problem for older people but it affects the young as well as the old.
"Most young people do not conform to the persistent stereotype of being unruly and out to make trouble.
"For the small percentage of young people who do commit offences or are guilty of anti-social behaviour, we must ensure that while we focus on changing their behaviour, we also address the underlying problems and ensure that all young people have a stake in society."
NCH Scotland is one of Scotland's leading children's charities, working in partnership to run 63 services for more than 7,000 of Scotland's most vulnerable children, young people and their families.
Also see: NCH Scotland