Wednesday, July 1, 2009

High tech cheating in children

More than 1/3 of teens with cell phones admit to cheating in school at least once. This is one of the conclusions of a newer study of the interaction of teenagers with cell phones, iPods and PDAs. The study from Common Sense Media and the Benenson Strategy Group conducted a poll of teenagers and parents on the use of digital media for cheating in school. Two-thirds of teenagers today own cell phones*, and most 8- to 12-year-olds will own a cell phone in the next three years**. And those numbers are only a small representation of our kids’ 24/7 media world. The study is called "Hi-Tech Cheating: Cell Phones and Cheating in Schools."

In looking at the Common Sense Media Website, may have a laudable goal, but their level of acceptance of modern media surely exceeds mine or my childrens' level of acceptance. The Benenson Strategy Group appears to be a strategic research and consulting firm.

The study also found that half (52%) of teens admitted to using some form of cheating involving the Internet. In fact, two-thirds of all teens say others in their school cheat with cell phones. Nearly 1 in 4 students think that acts like accessing notes on their cell phone during a test, texting friends with answers during a test and using their cell to search the internet for answers during a test aren't cheating at all! To quote the survey:
For example, only 41% say that storing notes on a cell phone to access during a test is cheating and a “serious offense.” And almost 1 in 4 (23%) don’t think it’s cheating at all. Similarly, only 45% say texting friends about answers during tests is cheating and a serious offense, while 20% say it’s not cheating at all. More than a third (36%) say that downloading a paper from the Internet to turn in isn’t a serious cheating offense, and almost 1 in 5 (19%) say it isn’t cheating at all.
On the other hand their parents are in total denial: The study shows, again quoting:
Parents are quite realistic when it comes to the frequency of cheating in schools – they just don’t believe it happens in their own backyard. 76% say cell phone cheating happens at their child’s school. But perhaps not surprisingly, just 3% of parents say their child has ever cheated with cell phones. Similarly, 79% say teens at their child’s school download papers from the Internet to turn in as their own work, but only 7% say their child has done this.
Here are some quotes from students in the study:

[I don’t cheat] that often, just
when I think the test is unfair…
the teacher gives questions
that are too hard or they did not
prepare us for… I guess it’s
cheating… using work that isn’t
your own is cheating, but I don’t
really think about it.” – student

I only [downloaded a paper or
report from the Internet] once
when I was in 6th grade because
my teacher had us do a project
that I knew nothing about…
I tried to find information, but it
was taking too long as it had to
be five pages and I started the
night before. So I decided I
should turn that in instead of
nothing.” – student

If someone is texting during
a test and looks suspicious, it’s
obvious they are cheating…
the teachers don’t really see
because the person texting
looks for them and hides their
phone when the teacher comes
by.” – student.

Cheating harms both society and the cheater. Is it any wonder that students fail to learn?

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