Fact Check

Father Tattoos His Baby Son

Does a photograph show a distraught child in the process of being tattooed by his father?

Published May 6, 2014

Claim:   Photograph shows a distraught child in the process of being tattooed by his father.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, April 2014]

I've seen this circulated a lot recently and was windering if this was old/new. True/false??


Origins:   This image of a distraught toddler presumably being forced to undergo a tattooing at the hands of his father was circulated widely via social media in April 2014, prompting numerous outraged comments about parental irresponsibility and abuse. Whether the image is actually a photograph that captures a genuine case of what it depicts is

currently unknown, however.

Image searches on the Internet show this same picture has been posted to numerous web sites over the last several years, typically categorized as an example of "bad parenting" or a "parenting fail." However, the origins of the photograph remain uncertain, as does whether the picture truly shows what viewers assume of it, or whether it was a staged or digitally manipulated photo.

Cases of parents and other supposedly responsible adults taking it upon themselves to have children tattooed are certainly not unknown, though. In 2009, a 26-year-old Georgia man gave his 3-year-old son a shoulder tattoo that said "DB" (short for "Daddy's Boy") and was later fined $300 and sentenced to 12 months of probation, and in December 2013 a 20-year-old man tattooed two under-13 girls left in his charge with a home tattoo kit (and the girls' mother and her boyfriend then compounded the issue by attempting to use a heated razor blade to scrape off the tattoos).

Last updated:   6 May 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.