Teenagers and tattoos in Bangkok.
The desire along with peer pressure for modern day teenagers to get at least one tattoo has never been greater.
Why do so many teenagers want to get inked?
Like the rest of us, teenagers are inundated on a daily basis with media images of celebrities, sports stars and others showing off their latest tattoos.
It seems that almost everywhere they turn they see adults in all walks of life displaying all manner of incredible tattoo designs on their bodies. Indeed a NBC poll indicated that a full 40% of American adults have at last one tattoo.
So who can blame them for wanting to join this fast-growing fashion and emulate their popstar or movie star heroes?
There are also other forces at play.
- All teenagers seek their own individual identities and many experiment by changing their styles of clothes, their hair-dos, their groups of friends, developing new interests, changing their music tastes and so on. The desire to have a tattoo is often an important part of this experimentation.
- Despite legal restrictions (see below) it is estimated that 10% of American teenagers have a tattoo, so the peer pressure can be enormous.
- Teenagers are still maturing and are frequently driven by their emotions and impulses and are more likely to jump in and get tattooed without thinking through the long term consequences.
- With their raging hormones and growing awareness of their sexuality, they are often attracted to tattoos that are sexual in nature – such as those inked close to ‘sexual areas’ such as the upper thigh or breast, or tattoos with erotic designs.
- Many teenagers have a desire to look as grown up and as macho as possible, and part of this process is being able to show off a prominent tattoo.
- Teenagers naturally rebel against authority, including their own parents, and one of the ultimate rebellious acts is to get a tattoo against their parents’ wishes.
Why shouldn’t I get a tattoo?
If you are a teenager, there is one extremely important reason why most of you shouldn’t take the plunge before you are 18 – you will be breaking the law of the land. In the UK it is illegal for anyone under 18 to have a tattoo, and in every American state it is illegal to have a tattoo without your parents’ permission.
The precise laws in America vary from state to state and even city to city. In some places you cannot have a tattoo even with your parents’ permission it, so be very careful.
You should also read the message below which is aimed primarily at your parents, but is one that you are also well advised to read.
How can parents deter their teenagers from taking the plunge?
The old adage, “Think before you Ink”, applies to anyone of any age contemplating getting a tattoo, but never is it more important than in the case of teenagers under the age of 18.
Teenagers have the whole lives before them, and they need to realize that something they may do before they are a fully developed adult could affect their whole future life .
There are many ways for parents to discourage their offspring from taking the tattoo plunge too early, and here are some tried and tested ALL DAY Tattoo pointers:
- Don’t lay down the law in an authoritarian manner. Being too heavy handed can often be counterproductive. Teenagers are rebellious by nature and if you tell them not to do something, many will see that as a good reason to do that very thing.
- It is always better to bring up the subject of tattooing as part of a frank two-way discussion, before your teenager asks about it – before having a tattoo is in the forefront of their mind.
This way you can positively influence their thinking on the matter. So when their friend suggests getting a tattoo, they are already aware of the dangers and drawbacks.
So what are these dangers and drawbacks?
Firstly is the health danger, especially if the teenager decides to go it alone – without permission. As already stated, in most of the world it is illegal under 18 in most places and in the remainder they must obtain parental consent.
This means that teenagers may go to ‘back street’ unregulated tattooists who are prepared to break the law for a few dollars, putting customers’ bodies at serious risk in these untrained and unhygienic tattoo mills.
Even if they get their tattoo from a reputable studio, they need to understand that there is always a risk of infection, especially if they do not follow the tattooist’s detailed instructions on aftercare, especially if they try to hide it from their parents.
Serious infection from a bad tattoo can lead to incurable diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses. Currently, only nine states in the USA have proper health codes in place for tattoo parlors.
Career prospects. No one is denying that in this enlightened age, more and more employers are totally accepting of employees with tattoos, and in many creative, hi tech, and media industries nobody will blink an eye lid.
But teenagers below the age of 18 may change their minds a dozen times before they decide on what career they will embark on, and there will always be teenagers who have limited options in their choice of jobs.
So, in essence, why burn your career bridges? While it is increasingly the case that the people doing the hiring may have tattoos themselves, there are still a great many prospective employers out there that believe tattoos are an indication of rebellious behavior and will not seriously consider any applicant who has visible tattoos.
But even if the tattoos are covered – for example, you have lower arm tattoo art – you may be condemning yourself to long sleeve apparel for your entire working life.
Wouldn’t it be much better to make important decisions on the direction of your future career before making life-changing additions to your skin?
What you do in haste you may regret in leisure. Quite apart from damaging your job prospects, you may well find that as you mature into your twenties and thirties, your tastes may change, and what looked great at 16 is now a constant reminder of a rebellious youth. You may grow to hate the large gothic design on your chest or the inked names of loved ones or celebrities on your arms who have long since passed you’re your consciousness.
One of the best things a parent can do is to persuade their teenager to wait at least a year, or until they come of age. The passing of a year is often very effective in cooling the tattoo desires – especially as far as content is concerned.
Inviting your teenager to watch a few episodes of “Tattoo Nightmares” may also be quite effective in getting your message across.
Tattoo removal is very painful, very expensive and takes a very long time and is never 100% effective.
You are still growing and your body is still developing. What looks great on a teenage body may look quite different on a fully mature body, particularly when your skin has stretched.
ALL DAY Tattoo in Bangkok
It goes without saying that we at All Day Tattoo in Bangkok love tattoos and there is nothing we like better than to take a new client down the road of making their body into a work of art, or helping others to add to an already impressive collection of inkings.
However, ALL DAY Tattoo will not tattoo anyone under the age of 18. This is the case even if they have their parents’ permission, as we do not feel ethically it is the right thing to do, for all the reasons set out above.
But of you are a teenager of 18 or 19, or the magic age of 18 is fast approaching, then we will be delighted to meet with you (and your parents if you wish) and help you to plan your future tattoo adventures in our modern, hygienic studio with some of the finest artists you can find anywhere in the world.
Once you are of age, the wonderful world of tattoos will be completely open to you.
Click the button below for your free, no-obligation consultation.