High school is a difficult time for kids today. Peer pressure to drink, use drugs and have sex is just one of the things our children have to face each day. Another major decision those same kids have to face is whether or not to go along with their friends and get a permanent body decoration by way of tattooing or piercing. Although it is their body, teenagers’ should wait until they are adults before making a decision on a permanent body decoration. A tattoo is a picture or word placed into the skin with permanent ink.
The needle involved is a flat or round group of points ranging from a one (single needle) to a 10 (points grouped in a pattern). The ink is placed into the skin using a vibrating machine (gun) and the skin is broken and the ink is laid down. A body piercing is similar to an ear piercing, except that the needle used is hollow and actually removes a chunk of flesh and in some cases cartiledge, leaving a raw hole large enough for the desired piece of body jewelry. Studies show that teenagers with body piercings and tattoos are more likely to be engaged in risky behavior than teenagers without body piercings and tattoos.
Information is based on a study by Dr. Roberts, a pediatrician, on over 4,000 kids between ages 12-19 in 1995 & 1996. Based on questions asked, females with body piercings were two and a half times more likely to have smoked cigarettes and marijuana and to have had sex within the month prior to the study, and two times more likely to have skipped school in the previous year. Boys with body piercings were five times more likely to have skipped school in the previous year and had almost the same high percentages for sex and smoking cigarettes and pot as the females. Cowling, T. 2002). However, there is a possibility that tattooing and body piercing may be associated with risk taking behaviors in young adults and adolescents. It is particularly indicative of other high-risk behaviors in adolescents as opposed to college aged students. Tattooing for example was associated with high risk behaviors such as sexual intercourse, smoking, marijuana use and fighting as well as truancy in a survey of adolescents. There are risks associated with both tattooing and body piercing. (Fox, M. 002). The majority of health risks associated with tattooing and body piercing are related to infectious complications and localized skin reactions. (Greenburg, J. 2009). However, the potential for blood borne diseases is also present. A study of college students with body art showed 45 percent reporting infection at the piercing site, and another 29 percent reporting a local skin reaction, with two cases of hepatitis being reported. One should always know the risks involved before getting a tattoo or piercing.
Tattoos are permanent ink placed into the skin, which could lead to a skin infection. Allergic reactions can also occur, as well as other skin problems such as granulomas or extra growths of scar tissue. (Mayo Clinic, 2010). The American public is being shown that tattoos for kids are ok. Mattel has issued a Barbie doll that kids can decorate with tattoos, and the doll also comes with temporary tattoos for the kids. Kids can buy temporary tattoos for . 25 cents in bubblegum machines. Television shows like L. A. ink and Miami ink glorify tattoos and body piercings. Harpaz, B. 2010). Kids think that tattoos are ok to get, because they can always get them removed or covered up later. Laser removal is advertised all over the internet, and while it is relatively easy, the pain might not be worth the cost. The cost is enormous ranging from $250 – $850 per session, and it takes anywhere from one to ten sessions or more depending on the tattoo. When a tattoo is covered up, a new tattoo is put over the top of the old one, and later if one decides to have it all removed, then the cost, time and pain will be even more intense.
Removing a body piercing is much easier, the person simply takes out the jewelry and allows the pierced skin to close or grow over. The scar left is the only reminder that the piercing even existed. (Women’s Health Care Topics, n. d. ). There are an abundance of homemade tattoo artists and body piercers popping up all over the country who will do tattoos and piercings on anyone for cheap, and without permission from parents for those clients who are under the age of 18.
In almost any town in the United States, someone can walk into a mall and ask a teenager with a tattoo or body piercing where they can get a cheap tattoo or piercing. The teenager can not only tell them the name of an unlicensed tattoo artist/body piercer, but sometimes even provide a phone number and a reference. References Fox, M. (2002). Body Piercings – Should Parents Be On Pins & Needles?. Retrieved from www. rense. com Tattooing & Piercing is Not Considered Deviant Behavior. (n. d. ). In Womens Health Care Topics.
Retrieved from www. womenshealthcaretopics. com Mayo Clinic. (2010). Tattoos: Understand Risks and Precautions. Retrieved from www. mayoclinic. com Harpaz, B. (2010). Parents, teenagers squabble over tattoos and body piercings. Lansing State Journal. Retrieved from http://www. lansingstatejournal. com Cowling, T. (2002). Tattoos and body piercings: a big decision. Family TLC. Retrieved from http://www. familytlc. net Greenberg, J. (2009). Pierced kids. MSN Lifestyle The Family Room. Retrieved from http://www. msn. com