What TSA Left Out of the Cartoon It Made for Your Kids

It may upset them when they pass through the security checkpoint.

The Transportation Security Administration has produced a cartoon to explain airport security to kids. And in many ways, the two-minute video does a pretty good job:

On the other hand, the cartoon depicts a metal detector, not the scarier-seeming naked scanner that many kids actually must walk through at the airport. As well, there's no mention of what seems like the scariest things kids have to face when passing through security: instances where a parent, or even the kid herself, is pulled aside for extra screening, and perhaps endures one of those intrusive pat-downs.

A kid who saw the above video, only to face more intrusive screening when actually at security, would perhaps be even worse off, because it would seem like the extra scrutiny wasn't part of the normal process that was explained to them in the nice video. "This didn't happen in the video," they might say. "Why are you doing this to me?"

After all, kid-meets-TSA-agent sometimes goes more like it did in the following encounter:

Of course, explaining the naked scanner and the intrusive pat-downs in a cartoon video for kids would be difficult, especially if one tried to pull it off without undermining parental messages about what to do if a stranger starts touching you.

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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