Tattoos ink the walls of Granite Bay High School

Tattoos+ink+the+walls+of+Granite+Bay+High+School

By Jill Kurpershoek

The most important consideration when getting a tattoo is the concept of forever.

Derived from the Samoan word ‘tatau’, meaning to mark something, tattoos have a 2000-year history (pbs.org). In Samoan culture, tattooing elicited honor in it’s wearer, as it was a celebrated tradition and done through ceremonial procedure.

Popularity is rapidly increasing and now influencing people as young as 16, although motivations for the permanent art have changed.

In a 2008 US study published on theguardian.com, 36% of Americans aged 18-25 and 40% of those aged 26-40 have a tattoo, whereas in a survey conducted by The Harris Poll in 2012, one in five adults (18 and older) have a tattoo, displaying the spreading popularity.

Current Granite Bay High School junior, Kylie Shimada, said that her tattoo “acts as a constant reminder of (her) goal of getting to the university of Hawaii at Manoa and cheering on their team when (she) graduate(s) in 2016.”

For Shimada, her tattoo serves as motivation.

According to Time Magazine, tattoos with meaning are not usually regretted, whereas random tattoos face a higher probability of later distress.

“I’ll never regret getting my tattoo at 16 (…) I don’t think you should ever regret something you wanted at some point, so even when I’m 80 years old, I know I’ll still love it,” said Shimada.

Tattooing always elicits a possibility of regret, but how young is too young to get a tattoo?

As a generation raised on technology, social media is major contributor to the influence of tattoos on youth. Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram contain pages dedicated to posting about tattoo sketches and individuals or celebrities with tattoos.

“…social media makes teens want tattoos more, because they are exposed to them more frequently,” said Khylie Boyer, current GBHS senior, who also has a tattoo.

While tattooing is illegal for minors in California, regardless of parental consent, many GBHS students have found ways to surpass regulations.

“If you are legal to drive, putting some art on your body should be okay too,” said Shimada.

California Penal Code 653 states a person who tattoos or offers to tattoo a person under the age of 18 years is guilty of a misdemeanor.

For the same reason youth are not generally tried as adults, we have the 18 and older tattoo restriction. Without fully developed adult brains, we are, supposedly, biologically unable to make adult decisions.

In an interview done by Daily Mail, Renee Brady, (mother of Levi Brady, her illegally tattooed daughter) said, “..the law(s) are there to protect young people from themselves.”

Studies show that people with tattoos are more likely to engage in risk behavior (huffingtonpost.com), which is one of the main concerns, considering its recent acceptance among youth.

Youth can commonly be categorized as impulsive, but both Boyer and Shimada reviewed many circumstances before getting tattoos.

“People should consider what the tattoo means to them, if they will like it for the rest of their lives, (and) how the tattoo portrays who they are,” said Boyer.

Shimada said the website “Yelp” is a useful tool when looking into the cleanliness and safety of certain tattoo parlors.

Both Boyer and Shimada plan on getting more tattoos in the future.

Regarding age, it seems that there is no correct age for tattooing, the decision is different for many individuals.

In contrast to Shimada, Boyer said that 18 is an appropriate age to be professionally tattooed.

“I think being out of high school can clear a person’s head (since) in high school there is a lot of pressure to be accepted and you might have a clouded judgement, (resulting) in getting a tattoo you’d regret.”

 

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