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Body Modification Laws

Should Your Child Be Pierced?

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Visit any high school and you'll see kids with all sorts of body modifications: piercings in every possible place, tattoos, brightly colored hair and anything else to change their appearance. What are these kid's parents thinking to let them do this to themselves? Until recently, under Arkansas law, parents didn't even have to know about it.

Before August 2001, the only type of body modification covered by Arkansas law was tattooing and teens only needed a signature of a parent to get a tattoo. A new law has recently gone into effect that makes it harder for teens to get piercings or tattoos.

Under the new law, minors are not allowed to get any type of branding, tattoo or piercing without having the parent present at the time of the modification. Is this overkill?

Most businesses already screen their customers. However a signature can be easily forged by a rebellious teen and, in the case of piercings, they weren't even required to check IDs. This made some parents uneasy because if a child went to an establishment that didn't carefully screen their customers, the parent had no legal recourse. With the new law, the parent can look around the establishment, approve the symbol and location of the tattoo or piercing and supervise everything or the establishment can get its license revoked.

However, teens might be more willing to ask their parents for a signature than to ask their parents to come with them. Under this new law, teens would be more likely to pierce themselves or go to someone who doesn't care about the law. Both of these solutions are less sanitary than a seeing a professional.

Only about 50 percent of all states have these sorts of body modification laws. What do you think? Do you think this law is overkill? Do you think you should be able to do what you want to with your own body? Tell us why.

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