Any passenger, no matter how old, can be randomly selected to be asked to go through a body scanning machine. Now, lest you think it just scans for metal, take a look:
Absolutely nothing is private and yes, total strangers are viewing the person being scanned's naked body. We can only hope they are not commentating during their job and the images will not be saved, either in computer or human memory.
The scanner itself uses X-rays. The X-rays are less powerful than your typical medical x-ray such that they do not penetrate the skin. They reveal only every detail about the skin and the TSA insists the X-rays are perfectly safe for everyone, even asking women who are pregnant to use it. I'd be curious to know just how long they've been studying the effect of the X-rays before declaring them "safe."
If you are concerned about how safe the X-rays might be, or prefer your naked body not exposed to strangers, you must then accept a full body pat-down. This means a TSA agent will slide his or her hands (the gender will match your own) all over your body including breasts and genitals. Children are not exempt from this; there are no age limits:
Just what are you supposed to tell your child? We tell our children that certain areas are private and they should never let anyone but Mommy, Daddy and their doctor touch those areas, and now we are supposed to include TSA agents? We don't even include police officers but we are supposed to permit TSA agents?
Yes, it is important our planes are safe. But it is no less important that we maintain our human dignity in doing so. If we lose our self respect and our dignity, isn't there a sense in which the terrorists have won anyway?
What about modesty? I for one do not expose certain areas to anyone besides my husband or doctor and yet now we are supposed to expose them to strangers or have strangers put their hands on them. The choice is immodesty or molestation? Really? Is that the only way to fly safe? If that is really the best the TSA can do, I think it is time to let someone else try.
I cannot in good conscience expose my children to either possible nude photos of them being taken nor to them being felt all over by a total stranger. We simply will be unable to fly as long as these measures are the "standard" of safety.
UPDATE: After floods of complaints, the TSA has given a little ground, announcing that it has eliminated patdowns for children under 12. Apparently 13 year olds can handle being felt all over better than 12 year olds? At least the little ones are now spared this, but what about the rest of us? I'm 31 and I'll be damned if a stranger is taking a naked picture of me or feeling me all over. I can't imagine how a teenage girl would feel better about this than I would.