Over 16 and thinking about a tattoo? Here are a few do’s and don’ts

  • Dec. 13, 2018 3:08 p.m.

From Instagram to Twitter, young people are heavily influenced by social media. No amount of influence from Harry Styles, however, can alter a mother’s opinion of tattoos —even more so if her child is a minor.

“She isn’t a newspaper,” Saimy Diaz, 43, said of her 17-year-old daughter, Carolina Martinez.

Some parents, though, say they’re OK with their children getting first tattoos.

“I wasn’t disappointed, but I did feel she was too young,” Caridad Perez, 37, said of her daughter, Kiara Lone, 17.

“My experience as a teenager was that I did whatever I wanted to do, so the fact that she was asking me instead of going behind my back, it made me feel as though I should let her do her own big decision,” Perez said.

Florida is among 33 states that allow children 16 and over to get tattooed with their parents’ permission. The rest of the states flat-out prohibit minors from getting tattoos. Florida law requires that both parent and child be present when the permission forms are signed. Both need to provide identification —school IDs don’t count because they don’t show a student’s birth date —and the minor’s birth certificate.

Parents are not required by law to witness their children being tattooed, but Grego Hernandez, 37, owner of Gregos Tattoos, recommends they stay with their kids throughout the process.

Monica Alvery, 43, said that at first, she didn’t want her daughter Julia Fuentes, 17, to get a permanent tattoo. Mom changed her mind when she learned that Julia wanted the tattoo in memory of her late father.

“Your Wings Were Ready But My Heart Was Not,” reads Julia’s tattoo on her right shoulder, accompanied by flying birds and a feather.

There are many popular tattoo studios in Miami-Dade County, including Inkaholic (with three locations countywide) and Gregos in southwest Miami. Reputable tattoo studios recommend that customers do research before deciding where to get body art. Customers should determine in advance whether they share a similar sensibility with a prospective tattoo artist.

Customers should look at artist samples on Instagram and read online reviews, according to Blue, a general manager at Inkaholic on Bird Road.

“Always visit the shop and see the artist,” said Blue, 40, who has worked at Inkaholic since 2001. He warns customers to beware, that some artists post Photoshopped tattoo images on their social media pages.

Also, he said, get studio prices in person. “Always come to the shop and not get prices online or on the phone.”

Young customers should also make sure in advance they can afford to be tattooed at the prospective studio. Prices differ from place to place, and also vary depending upon a customer’s physical size. Also, studios usually charge $5 to $10 for state notary services.

For example, Kiara Lone paid $100 plus a $10 notary fee to Gregos for a medium-size flower, plus two words on her wrist.

Julia Fuentes, who tattooed the large memorial to her father on her shoulder, had hers done for $70 at Da Ink House in Southwest Miami-Dade. She said estimates from other studios ranged from $100 to $300.

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