Rising Numbers of Teenagers With Tattoos

Students share the stories behind of their inked-up art work

Harper Crater, Sports Editor

A rise in creative self expression is bringing about a rise in the number of teens getting tattoos.

The suburbs aren’t immune to the tattoo craze; whether they are being given by professionals or by friends, students are obtaining them. There has been a substantial increase in the presence of tattoos in younger generations.

According to Advanced Dermatology, 46 percent of people who get tattoos under the age of 20 regret them, so why is the tattoo trend so popular among high schoolers?

“I decided to get a tattoo because I have always wanted one, and my parents have one,” senior Alyssa Damato said. “It doesn’t have any emotional connection to me or really a special meaning. It reminds me to live my life to the fullest and have fun.” Damato has ‘enjoy life’ tattooed on her ribs.

For senior Morgan Dodson, tattoos are a family tradition.

“I wanted to get my tattoo because it is a family tattoo that we all have,” Dodson said. “It’s an infinity sign that says ‘Established 2014 family” in it.”

Junior Lexi Sutphin’s tattoo was also inspired by family.

“I got it for my grandma because she passed away when I was younger, but I was really close to her,” Sutphin said. “It is a cardinal to represent her because she was really into them.” Sutphin got her tattoo in July of this year.

Tattoos are expensive, so teens have found cheaper alternatives. Stick and Poke tattoos are the newest craze among those who are unable to commit to permanent tattoos and are significantly cheaper than those done by professional artists. With Stick and Poke tattoos, people are able to design, trace, and tattoo without having to pay high prices. These temporary tattoos come in kits, available on the Internet, but have a higher risk factor as they’re not done by trained professionals.

“I have a heart on my side, and I did it to myself in eighth grade. It’s faded a lot, it’s kind of gray now,” senior Ainsley Fraser said.

Fraser has three Stick and Poke tattoos.

“I bought all the stuff at Michael’s,” Fraser said. “I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and figured it out. It takes a solid year or two for them to completely fade out. I also have a dinosaur on my hip, I got that one New Year’s day. It’s a Stick and Poke but with permanent ink. I got another one on my other hip and it says ‘love you’.”

Senior Joseph Kim also has Stick and Poke tattoos.

“I gave my first tattoo to myself in my bedroom using a needle and fountain pen ink,” Kim said. “The first one was a little heart on my thigh, very minimalist. I have a few more, but that one was special to me.”

Due to age constraints and the parental supervision and permission required for under aged people to get tattoos, students often decide to wait until they are of legal age to get tattoos.

“My sister has autism so I want to get something for her to remind me that without her I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today,” senior Natalie Nester said. “My parents would kill me if I got a tattoo, so I’m waiting until I’m 18 and can do it on my own.”

Tattoos often function as instruments of self expression.

“I want a tattoo to differentiate myself from people and make my body more unique, to express myself,” senior Brendan Williams said. “I would probably get a piece of my girlfriend’s art on the left side of my chest.”

Others, like junior Maddy Whiting, are still deciding on their first tattoo. “I want a tattoo because they can be meaningful,” Whiting said. “I haven’t decided what just yet, but I plan on getting one in college.”