Is 14 Too Young to Get a Tattoo?

(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - In Webster, Mass., there's a story about teenagers that's generating some buzz.

The Webster Board of Health has voted in favor of allowing kids as young as 14 to get tattoos, as long as they have written consent from a parent or guardian.

People in the town are reacting to the news.

Choosing to get a tattoo is a big decision.

It’s one Edward Masterson says 14 year olds aren't mature enough to make.

“If a 14 or 15 year old comes in for a tattoo, they will be denied,” says Masterson who owns a tattoo parlor in Webster, “at least by this shop.”

Masterson owns Steel and Ink Tattoo parlor in Webster.

On Monday, the town's board of health voted 2 to 1 to allow kids as young as 14 to get tattoos.

The change requires parental consent for teenagers 14 to 17 years old and parents to be present during the process.

But Masterson says the decision is flawed.

“Sixteen to 18 is acceptable but 14 and 15 is not so acceptable,” he says.

The decision was made in part to prevent young adults from using illegal tattoo artists.

It’s a problem Masterson says he sees all the time and one that can also be very dangerous.

“There's probably eight to 10 guys working out of their kitchen in this town,” he says. “We don't know if they're using new needles or cleaning them; we don't know what they are not doing.”

People in town have mixed reactions.

“I think it's okay as long as it’s alright with the parents,” says Jerard Rice.

“A job opportunity might come up and you can't cover that up,” says Rashard Young. “Some kids might want them on their faces or hands and you can't cover that.”

 “You're not thinking in the long run; you're thinking at that moment. That's the thing about children: you’re not thinking about down the road, just right now,” says Shaleeha Rice.

Masterson says he advises adults unsure of their tattoo choice- to hold off.

It’s advice he thinks is even more important at a younger age.

“It’s for life and they don't wash off,” Masterson says. “We have a nice machine over here for 14 year olds they can put one on and see how it looks.”

Contact Us