I'm so glad this thread has already been started. I have spent far too many nights up, stressed out about our upcoming family flight through the US. We hardly ever fly (first time in 4 years) and if we could cancel our trip we would, anything to avoid this invasive 'security theatre' (borrowd term) that the TSA has instigated.
my first conclusion was that, x-rays or not, we'd do the body image scanner because in no way am I going to tell my kids to let uniformed strangers touch them, period. While some relatives are saying NO, no, avoid the scanners, they're dangerous, do the pat-down, I still can't make peace with choosing to make my kids succumb to a pat-down.
I've yet to talk to my kids about it at all, because I'm not sure how much to say. They're old enough to understand and care about their options (10, 7 and 4), and I know if I show any fears or uncertainty, they'll pick up on it. Personally, I am vehemently opposed to this crap on every level, and I hate that I must lie about my own convictions, to keep their thoughts simple and care-free, but of course I will.
My fears are two-fold: If I KNOW I can choose the machine (body imager, not backscatter) and that guarantees me no pat-downs, then I will. We'll wear simple clothes with no pockets, nothing that could set off the scanner's viewing agent to request a further pat-down. But what if they request one anyway? And I heard that they randomly pick passengers for pat-downs, so I can't control for that. What if they pick my kids?
We're flying out of Sea-Tac, in Seattle, if anyone's gone through there recently. I would LOVE to just do the regular metal detector. LOVE it.
I guess I feel like, if I now we can avoid the pat-downs, I can prepare my kids for the scanners appropriately. But if there's a chance i'll be forced to consent to a pat down, I need to talk to them. Someone mentioned gender-seperated line-ups, is this true? My ideal is to get patted down as a family, and all by the same female agent, with DH and I going first, so the ids can see it and us fine with it, first.
I just want to avoid pat-downs altogether. I hate the thought, and know that my kids will have big issues with them, so I need to prepare them. If I have a 'big talk', that'd stress them out, so something simple and no-big-deal is best.