WHAT is it that characterises the snowflake generation? It is infantilisation carried to extremes.

We see them carrying their skateboards and using them on the pavements in the city centre. University students even expect Halloween treats during their seminars. Trigger warnings are given to alert them to course content which might make them feel squeamish. And what about jazz hands to replace applause?

With the advent of social media, endemic in the general population conversant with this scourge, instead of reflection we now have a reaction response, which I prefer to call event interaction immediacy syndrome.

That caters to the emotive side of our natures, where our educational system was founded upon a search for knowledge, reflection and rationality.

Now we have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips without having to go through the hard slog of finding sources in reference works to corroborate our theses. We have become the fastest-finger-first culture.

The curse of social media, as a result, is that recourse is had to instant gratification with impatience being the default position.

In a 24/7 world, there is no time to pause for reflection or to have a period of peace and quiet.

So we have the explosion of prejudice unthinkingly on the net, and facts are cast aside to create space for emotionality.

It is time we stood back to contemplate where this tendency is likely to take us.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

PERHAPS others disagree with Neil Mackay ("Don't ban fireworks: We need a bit of danger in our lives", The Herald, October 29) and endorse the views of Owen Kelly (Letters, October 30th.) Apart from harming animals, with which I disagree, I have to say that I have always felt enlivened by a scary experience now and again. As Mr Mackay writes, "every day we cut off a little bit more of what it means to be human ... anything messy becomes cast as something ugly when in fact it's the messiness which makes us human". There is always the need to err on the side of safety and common-sense but "teetering on the edge" now and again is good for the soul and gives pride in oneself.

Two weeks ago I saw what I thought was a wood blewit mushroom under a beech tree, before too many leaves had fallen to cover it. Poking about amongst the twigs I could see dozens of the blewits … in fact so many that I was quite enchanted by the sight. The ground sloped away very steeply to the burn a long way down below but I was determined to find out how many mushrooms were fruiting there. On hands and knees I ventured down the slope, counting as I went. Seventy-one blewits. I just had to sit and gaze at them as they were so beautiful. Then I had to face getting back up to the top again.

It was rather scary, and I suppose that I had been foolish, but I felt very exhilarated too. My little adventure at the age of 81 made me feel good, even without the ownership of a phone of any description in case I got into danger. What was even better was that I had spotted a single destroying angel mushroom on the crawl back up.

You cannot beat a challenge, a bit of danger. Masked or not I no longer have a boss to tell, "go to hell", but I can tell my own fears to do so.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.