Should minors be allowed to get tattoos (if they have parental permission)?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Tattoos are often considered “the poor man’s art.” They also express someone’s personality, albeit in an unusual way. I am in favor of anyone being allowed to show their artistic side and to do what they choose to their body as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else physically or financially (among other reasons). So, I am in favor of anyone willfully getting a tattoo—except for minors, even those with parental permission.

Many studies have shown that children’s brains aren’t fully developed until they reach their twenties. Before maturity, teens especially are far more likely to respond emotionally when it comes to making important decisions. Getting a tattoo is important because it involves pain, the risk of infection, and is, for all intents and purposes, permanent.

Many parents these days are barely full adults themselves because of the “children giving birth to children” phenomenon society has experienced in the past few generations. A twenty-five-year-old parent giving a ten-year-old son or daughter permission to get a tattoo is akin to inmates running the asylum.

Teens are also vulnerable to peer pressure and may go along with the crowd, or a particular friend, or even succumb to parental encouragement if they believe these people are truly acting in their best interest. That isn’t always the case, especially with peers. A teen who is allowed to get a tattoo because she buckled under to peer pressure and talked her mom into allowing it because “everyone in school has a tattoo” may regret the decision as an adult. She may then either suffer emotionally by living with the tattoo forever or undergo painful and costly removal that once again involves risks of infection and/or permanent scarring.

Not that long ago, people paid good money to attend circus sideshows to gawk at the man or woman whose body was entirely covered with tattoos. But whether one find’s them either attractive expressions of personality or freakishly odd, their permanence makes them a bad idea for children, even with parental approval.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Minors should not be allowed to get tattoos, particularly if they have attempted to acquire one through an unlicensed tattoo artist, and have done so without their parent’s permission. Parents should not provide any kind of permission when minor children go behind their backs and basically break the law.

Every state has strict laws governing tattooing and every parent needs to inform their minor children about these restrictions, especially when their children express any kind of interest in getting “inked.” Tattoo laws for minors run the gamut from outright prohibition of tattooing (regardless of parental consent) to written consent as well as written and notarized parental consent; parental presence while consenting, and total prohibition for minors under the age of 14, regardless of any consent.

With these highly restrictive laws, parents of minor children need to take the process quite seriously. The consequences of getting a tattoo anywhere on the body need to be carefully explained to a child. They must be made to realize that a tattoo has repercussions in terms of medical, social, and career circumstances.

Eventually maturity brings some minors to the realization that a tattoo is something that is not that easy to eliminate. When buyer’s remorse or tattoo regret sets in, minor and older children need to be made aware of the expensive process of removing a tattoo, and the medical risks involved. They also need to be made aware that as they age the skin around the tattoo will sag, the tattoo ink will fade and the tattoo will likely look distorted, particularly on certain parts of the body where sagging and weight gain are probable.

The numbers of older teenagers and young adults who get “inked” has risen significantly since 2013 and is in the 36-40 percent range with these two groups and has become more and more prevalent as a popular means of self-expression. Younger teens and children realize this by simply seeing young adults walking around with highly visible tattoos. They want to be part of it all. They want emulate and imitate their older peers with this symbol of self-expression, cultural acceptance and the independence that supposedly goes with it.

Getting a tattoo is sometimes compared to a passage from childhood to adulthood and minor children want to have the same freedom to do with their bodies as their older counterparts have done. The only problem is they don’t realize what having a tattoo (s) can mean down the road. This is another aspect that needs to be explained to minors before they jump into thinking they have to get a tattoo. Their minds are not developed enough to understand the consequences of certain actions, and getting a tattoo or tattoos is part of that. They are simply reacting to a whim.

In making a decision about minor children acquiring one or several tattoos, parents must seriously consider all of the repercussions and explain to their children what can happen with acquiring a tattoo, particularly in the medical sense. They need to know the risks of getting one, which can include swelling and burning, skin infections, scarring, allergic reactions to tattoo inks, infections from dirty tattoo needles that can result in blood borne diseases (hepatitis C and B, HIV, and tetanus) scarring, granulomas (knots and bumps around tattoo site) and complications from receiving an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging for medical diagnosing).

Minor children also need to be made aware of the tattoo procedure and how the long-term effects of tattoo ink and other colorings are not known. There has been little to no close examination of the safety of tattoo ink by any regulatory agency up to this time, and minor children need to know that as well.

Minors should not be allowed to get tattoos and if they are given permission by their parents, they need to be warned of the risks involved and the long-term effects and consequences. Children that want tattoos will try to beg and wear down their parents to the point of the parent giving in, but any smart parent will hold their ground and tell their minor children if you want it that bad, you can wait until you are an adult. That will give you enough time to really think over what a tattoo can and can’t do for you, but for right now, the answer is no. Maybe parents can use washable tattoos as a good substitute answer for their minor children along with a gentle reminder that a regular tattoo is a permanent fixture.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-With all the dangers facing kids these days, whether or not Junior gets a hammer tattooed on his shoulder or Bubbles gets a butterfly on her ankle seems like small change. Between online threats and real-world dangers like drugs, bullying and street crime, it hardly seems to matter what colors are applied to skin in what shapes.

However, I’m going to sound awfully stodgy here, but I am completely opposed to allowing children to get tattooed. I’m not for a moment saying that all kids automatically become of sound judgment at age 18, God knows I wasn’t until my early 30s, but the way our society is set up there are difficulties with restricting privileges past 18.

Getting a tattoo is making a statement, one that young people might not completely understand. It’s saying that you are forever marking yourself as, well, someone willing to adorn yourself with multicolored ink. While some see it as a reassuring sign of being willing to make a commitment, the long lines at tattoo removal clinics would indicate that it’s also often a decision made in haste and repented in leisure.

Parents, especially parents who themselves have made the choice to self-adorn, can be highly adept at self-delusion. If we’ve made a bad decision, having our children make the same decision can provide some validation that perhaps our choice wasn’t all that bad. I know this sounds horribly judgmental, but I’ve seen it in my own life far too many times among friends and acquaintances.

The choice to tattoo needs to be one made at the very least by someone of legal age to vote, if not older. Think of yourself at age 16. What were you passionate about? What or who were you convinced would forever be in your life? Are any of those people or things still strongly influential for you? If yes, count yourself among the very few. Personally, I’m very glad I never got that Tears for Fears logo on my chest.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Hell to the no! I definitely do not think adults, let alone minors, should get tattoos, even with the consent of parents. Free will is a helluva gift, but we all need to use that free will in a way that shows honor and brings benefits to others.

What does getting a tattoo as a minor achieve or accomplish? Will it incite these minors to strive to do better in schools? Will it help them see the need to associate with people or other minors with the same morals and values? Will it help them cultivate love, peace, and improve their personality? Will it actually help them to be better kids and overall exemplary citizens of society? Do the math. Nothing adds up. Allowing minors to have tattoos will only attract the wrong people, and let them think more of themselves than necessary.

A tattoo is also a smart way to become distracted and selfish. A child should be enjoying their youthful years, not self-destructing, fiddling with needles, or defiling their bodies. Hell-to-the-no. A minor should not be allowed to get tattoos under any circumstances.

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