Teen Tattoo Parties

Teens dancing at a partyIn these tough economic times, the fact is, most African American youths get their tattoos unprofessionally. These tattoos obtained in their friend’s basements, or at tattoo parties are cheaper, faster, and a lot more dangerous than most people think. Amateur tattoo ‘artists’ are literally learning their trade in the city streets and on the canvas of our children’s bodies.

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What’s wrong with an inexpensive home-made tattoo? Aside from the questionable artistic value and poor choice of subject (amateur tattooists will put anything the teen asks on them including boyfriend’s names, vulgar sayings, and downright insults); these tattooists are also unknowingly spreading potentially fatal diseases to all involved.

Because the tattooist bought their equipment, ink, and needles online, there is no control on whether they actually know what they were doing. There is no sterilization of the equipment (you would need an autoclave oven), and frequently, the street tattooist will offer a ‘discount’ on a used needle. That discount may end up costing a large price later in life.

These tattoo party organizers have not been trained in disease transmission prevention, the possible side effects of different inks, the tendency of the teen’s skin to react badly, or the countless other issues that should be considered when permanently altering the body. And they really don’t care because after the party, they move on without any accountability for bad outcomes.

To throw a tattoo party, these amateur artists will find a ‘host’ who will get paid either a cut of the night’s profits, or a set fee. Free alcohol and food sets the mood for impulsive decisions, and by morning, a frequently regrettable tattoo is the result. Many will never see the tattooist again. Questions about tattoo after-care, prevention of infection, allergy treatment, or skin changes can never be asked or answered. In addition, the teen will frequently hide the new tattoo from their parents for an extended period of time until they are accidentally discovered months later.

Tattoo party tattoos are the worse kind of tattoos because the art is frequently inferior, the content is poorly thought through, and the risk for infection is high. Talk to your teens about tattoo parties and the dangers of going. They will thank you later in life.

greg-hallBy Dr. Greg L. Hall

Gregory L. Hall, MD is a primary care physician practicing in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the middle school health education supplement, “Teens, Tattoos, & Piercings: The health and social impact of permanent body art.”

After graduation from Williams College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, he attended the Medical College of Ohio, and completed residency in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Hall serves on the teaching faculty at Case Western Reserve University’s College of Medicine and is the Chairman of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. He also sits on the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and is Medical Director of Community Outreach at Saint Vincent Charity Medical Center.

Please find a  link to his book here: http://teenstattoosandpiercings.com/

Parents & Teens Working Together To Protect The Health Of Teens

An apple sitting next to a stack of booksThe teenage years are a time for young people to learn and adopt healthy behaviors that will last a lifetime. Parents, schools, and communities tend to focus on preventing risky behaviors among youth, such as having sex at an early age, using tobacco, or drinking alcohol. However, a growing amount of research suggests that there is also value in promoting protective factors, which can help young people avoid risky behaviors, reduce the effects of stressful life events, and maintain or improve their health.  CDC has identified three important areas—school connectedness, parent engagement, and positive parenting practices—that can help teens lead healthy, productive lives.

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School Connectedness

School connectedness is the belief held by students that adults and peers care about them and their learning. Research shows that young people who feel connected to school are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and are more likely to have high grades and test scores, have better attendance, and stay in school. Schools can do many things to promote school connectedness including encouraging students to speak openly about their ideas, needs, and worries to parents and teachers; holding regular meetings between parents and teachers; and providing opportunities for students to work with adults, such as mentoring programs.

Parent Engagement in Schools

Parent engagement in schools involves parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of teens. Much like school connectedness, parent engagement is closely linked to higher grades and fewer risky health behaviors. Parent engagement in schools is a shared responsibility in which schools reach out to parents in meaningful ways, and parents actively support their teen’s learning and development. To promote parent engagement, schools need to connect with parents, engage them in school-related activities, and sustain frequent communication with parents throughout the school year.

Positive Parenting Practices

Positive parenting practices complement school connectedness and parent engagement in schools. Young people are influenced by their parents’ values, beliefs, and expectations of appropriate behavior. When parents know their child’s activities and whereabouts, clearly communicate their expectations, and create supportive family environments, teens are less likely to make poor decisions that impact their health.

Parents and schools have a powerful influence on young people, and it is important that they work together to prevent teens from engaging in risky behaviors. Promoting school connectedness, parent engagement in schools, and positive parenting practices is a vital way to keep our young people healthy and set them on the path towards academic achievement and well-being.

To learn more about what parents, schools, and communities can do, please go to CDC’s Healthy Youth Web site at:  www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/adolescenthealth/protective.htm