How Young Is Too Young for a Tattoo?
Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: RJ Burnette
Danville, VA - A Georgia woman is facing child cruelty charges after taking her 10-year-old son to the tattoo shop. In Georgia, any person under 18 can't get a tattoo, even with a parent's permission.
In Virginia, there is no age requirement to get inked. But if you're younger than 18, your parent has to be there to give consent.
Tattoo artists in Danville say they see kids trying to get tattoos all the time. A lot of these artists say a 10-year-old getting tattooed is just too young.
Jeffrey Seiden, a Danville resident, inked up for the first time when he was 14 years old. He started out by getting a clover on his lower leg.
"It was a memory, it was something I wanted to do. It was something that meant something to me," said Seiden.
Years later, he says he would do it again and even let his kids get one when they turn 14.
"That's when I got mine and I thought at that point in my life I made a wise decision. It I guess just depends on the maturity of the kid," he said.
While Virginia law has no age requirement, Harry's Tattoo Shop does; they make you wait until 18.
"We probably get anywhere from 10 to 30 phone calls a weekunderage kids from North Carolina," said Harry Aron, a tattoo artist.
Aron turns away hundreds of parents, underage kids, and dollars. He says he considers tattoos on a minor a form of child abuse.
"Getting tattooed at 10 or 11the growth thing is not a health issue or whatever, that's just a moral issue," he said.
"It's something you have to stick with for the rest of your life, you can't take it back. They should not have that right," said Wendy Cook, a mother of two.
Cook refused to sign a release for a tattoo on her daughter.
"I wasn't there to sign for her to get a tattoo until she becomes an adult because that is just not something I choose to do. I don't feel that anybody under the age of 18 should get a tattoo," said Cook.
While Seiden won't make his kids wait, he will make sure they make the right decision.
"Something on the face, neck, hands, things that they can't hide on a day to day basis I wouldn't allow it," he said. "It's not going to be just instant go ahead and do it, but I think tattoos are good. I have no complaints with them."
Now in the Georgia case, police are also investigating the tattoo artist who inked the 10-year-old boy. Aron thinks he is just as liable as the mother.