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Friday, April 10, 2009

Why Are So Many Kids Stealing and Cheating?

Warning: Almost one-third of high school students have committed a crime! Specifically, they’ve stolen something from a store. Almost 65% admit they’ve cheated on a test! What’s going on here? Roughly 30,000 U.S. high school students, from 100 randomly selected schools, were surveyed by the Josephson Institute in Los Angeles. According to the Associated Press, the results suggest that young people are a little lax about ethics. The most alarming finding was that about 30% of boys and girls said they’d stolen something from a store in the past year. Another 20% said they’d stolen from a friend, and 23% had stolen from a parent or other relative. So, are today’s kids actually less honest than previous generations, or are they victims of what’s going on in society in general?

Michael Josephson is the institute’s founder and president. He says that these days cheating appears to be rampant, from athletes on steroids to money managers stealing from their clients. So, young people may look around and say, “Everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t we?” Also, some educators say there’s more intense pressure today to get good grades and the competition to get into college is greater. So, if students have the opportunity to cheat, the temptation can be too hard to resist. In fact, the survey found that cheating is even more common than stealing. More than 65% of students admitted to cheating on at least one test in the past year, and 36% used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment. Even thought so many students admit to lying, cheating, and stealing, they still think they’re honorable people. In fact, 93% of students say they’re happy with their own personal ethics and character and 77% agreed with the statement, “When it comes to doing what is right, I’m better than most people I know.”
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> posted by Trevor Hammack at

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