A study released on Thursday shows US teens are using smart phones and the Internet to cheat at school work or exams.
Slightly more than half of teens surveyed for a Common Sense Media poll admitted to using the Internet to cheat and more than a third of students with mobile telephones said they had used them to cheat.
Approximately 65 percent of all teens surveyed said they had heard or seen other students using mobile telephones to cheat at school.
"This poll shows the unintended consequence of these versatile technologies is that they've made cheating easier," the study concluded.
"Digital life, by its nature, is distant, hard to track, and often anonymous, which can diminish the impact of action and consequences."
Cheating tactics include storing notes on mobile telephones for reference during exams and exchanging text messages about answers while taking tests.
Teens also told of using smart phones to search the Internet for answers during exams and of using the devices to send pictures of tests to friends scheduled to take the same class later in a day.
Some 36 percent of students said that plagiarizing from the Internet for school assignments was not a serious offense, and a fifth of teens polled did not consider it cheating.
Only half of the students surveyed considered mobile telephone or Internet cheating "serious offenses," and a significant number of teens didn't deem those tactics cheating at all.
One in four students said it wasn't cheating to store notes on mobile telephones and peek at the information during exams.
"Though it's debatable whether or not it's truly cheating, nearly half (48 percent) of teens with cell phones call or text friends to warn them about pop quizzes," authors of the study observed.
"And there's little debate among teens; just 16 percent say this is cheating and a serious offense and 46 percent say it's just helping out a friend."
Parents appear to believe that gadgets are being used for cheating, but that other people's children are doing it and certainly not their offspring, according to the survey.
"Parents are shockingly ready to believe that cell phone cheating is even more widespread than teens believe," study authors noted.
"But, perhaps not surprisingly, almost no one is willing to believe their child is the culprit."
Teens with mobile telephones typically send 440 text messages weekly, with 110 of those digitized missives being shot off during classes, according to the study. Students said they routinely ignored bans on mobile phone use at school.
"Perhaps because they don't realize just how widespread cell phone use in schools is, parents aren't clamoring for stricter cell phone policies in school," the study surmised.
(c) 2009 AFP
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