Tattoos and Body Piercings - Teenagers Choice or Not

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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...
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