Remember when you were 14 or 15 and begged your parents to get a tattoo? Chances are their reply was a strident and emphatic negative. Almost all kids at one point or another express passing interest in tattoos, but many of them grow out of it by the time they reach a more tattooable age. However, a string of recent events has occurred in which minors were receiving tattoos from unlicensed artists. Such a practice is not only illegal, it's harmful to both the recipient of the tattoo and the industry as a whole.

Uninformed decisions
Despite the fact that tattooing is for many an outlet of their teenage rebellion, the practice of giving a tattoo to someone under the age of 18 without the express consent and presence of a guardian – or in some cases even with it – is legally prohibited. Just like official regulation of things such as driving and drinking ages, the decision to restrict tattooing to adults over the age of 18 serves a distinct purpose. Adults tend to be far less likely to impulsively subject themselves to an experience with such permanent consequences and, in many cases, have the benefit of life experience to reflect upon when such decisions are being made. Teenagers, on the other hand, can be capricious at the best of times, and tattoo regret is a common side effect.

Lack of regulation
Perhaps a more severe implication of the influx of teenagers getting tattoos is that it can lead to shoddy or even dangerous work at the hands of unlicensed artists. Because almost no reputable studio would be willing to risk a fine or even jail time to ink a minor, many teens who insist on stubbornly pursuing their tattoo dreams end up going to underground or backyard artists using substandard equipment and inks that oftentimes haven't been approved by the FDA.

Many established tattoo studios and artists have spoken up as some of the staunchest critics of such shady practices, as they can have detrimental effects on the industry as a whole. Many times artists will be seen by those who have been the unfortunate recipients of such bad tattoos in order to alter or cover them up. Tattooing is a completely safe practice when performed by a trained and reputable artists at a well-regarded establishment using top-tier equipment, but when pursued by those who are unpracticed and unmonitored, the risk of not just poor tattoo work but also injury or infection skyrockets.

"We're concerned about it because anything that could potentially lead people to scarring is not a good thing and it's not good for our industry," Australian Tattooists Guild spokesperson Josh Roelink told ABC News.

Unfortunately, it's far from difficult for an enterprising individual to purchase tattoo equipment and ink from sellers on sites like eBay and then take to tattooing minors. Even more distressing is that such equipment is, far more often than not, significantly substandard in quality. Not only is there no oversight for potentially faulty equipment or dangerously reactive inks, but purchasing tattoo equipment on eBay doesn't provide the detailed instructions required to operate even high-end machines properly. Thus, while antsy teens may be tempted to seek out such backyard tattooists, the potential risks far outweigh any positive aspect.

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