Kids these days are growing up faster than ever. Cell phones are amongst the most popular accessories of kids as young as ten. But currently, cell phones aren’t the accessory that’s stressing out more and more parents, while tattoos are. Tattoos are being found on more and more teens. Why the obsession with tattoos at such a young age? From Mattel’s, Totally Stylin’ Tattoo Barbie, which may influence children as young as 5, to the newest temporary tattoos, to the most popular celebrity teens flaunting their new ink to our young generation, tattoos are seen everywhere and amongst all age groups of children. One state even started a new law as recent as July 1, 2010 because of the number of teens going to tattoo parlors to be inked.
In 2009, Mattel launched a new Totally Stylin’ Tattoo Barbie. The doll came with temporary tattoos for both the doll and child. It also included a tattoo gun in which the tattoos were to be applied. Many parents were outraged, but others saw the new doll as a sign of the times. Mattel kept the Barbie on the shelf due to the number of sales. Mattel believes the Tattoo Barbie gives young girls a chance to express them selves. Many parents like the idea of their children expressing themselves, but believe it can be in a different form than tattoos, especially the heart tattoo bearing Ken’s name. Tattoos of significant others is the most regretted tattoo later in life. The argument continues on whether these dolls influence children on getting tattoos.
Another large influence on teens and tattoos is the amount of teen celebrities donning their ink. Just last year, at the Teen Choice Awards, which as the name implies, has an audience of mostly 11-17 year olds, a Jonas Brother, a heartthrob amongst young girls, was tattooed on stage by none other than celebrity tattoo artist, Kat Von D. It wasn’t revealed to the viewers at the show or at home that the tattoo was not real. Many parents were again outraged.
While the Jonas Brother tattoo was not real, many teen celebrities do have real tattoos. But not only do they have tattoos, they love to show them off. Of course, the media loves to show and point out celebrity tattoos as well. Justin Bieber, only 16 years old, already has his first tattoo. His family was fully supportive of him getting a tattoo at such a young age. They actually went on to explain the bird tattoo that Justin got was a family tradition. The other family members with the bird tattoo had them inked on their wrists while Justin opted for the lower side of his stomach. Miley Cyrus, 17 years old, already has at least two tattoos. Miley’s family was also completely supportive of her decision to be tattooed before she turned eighteen. Miley was actually with her father who was getting a tattoo when she decided to have “love” tattooed on her ear.
The tattooing of teens is such a large issue that some states have decided to ban tattooing minors under any circumstances. Many states let teens get tattooed with parental consent. However, in Minnesota, starting July 1, 2010, teens will no longer be able to get a tattoo even with parent permission. Minnesota believes that this new law will prevent those teens that feel the need to express them selves through a tattoo without thinking of the later consequences in life that tattoo might bear. Minnesota does not dislike tattoos but the state does believe that a person should be an adult when making the decision to get a tattoo.
Whether influence from a doll, teen celebrity, or another factor, tattoos are on the rise amongst today’s teens. Many teens believe that a tattoo expresses who they are, but they often get tattoos without thinking of the lifelong consequences. Many teens see getting a tattoo as a step in growing up. States like Minnesota agree that tattooing is a decision for an adult to make therefore passing a law stating so. Teens are so easily influenced by their peers and celebrities and the number of teens with tattoos is continuing to increase.