Technology has certainly come a long way in the last few decades. What once took a trip to the library and hours of research is now loaded onto your phone in mere seconds. When it comes to schooling, this can be either a good or bad thing, depending on how students use this information. If you’re worried about the blurring lines of plagiarism and cheating in today’s modern world, don’t worry, you’re not alone. 

Back in the Day

It used to be quite difficult in getting away with cheating in school. Relying on the person sitting next to you or writing answers on your hand would sometimes complete the list. But with cell phones everywhere and instant access to answers, it may be harder for teachers in deciphering what’s really a student’s thought or the Internet’s thought. And just because the information is easier to find, doesn’t necessarily mean students are usually it nefariously either. When it comes to completing projects and homework, the time it requires will certainly be reduced compared to years past. Knowing it took you X number of hours and your kid is done in one hour, doesn’t mean they are cheating or cutting corners. Simply having more answers and information at their fingertips takes a lot of prep work out of homework these days. 

Deciphering the Work

If you are concerned your child may be cutting corners, it’s best to talk to them face to face and get down to the nitty gritty. Having honest conversations is important for your child, no matter their age. If they are young enough, they may not even understand the implications of their actions or what fully constitutes cheating or plagiarizing. Many resources in today’s world consist of recycled information, and your child may not realize the difference between using and quoting research and taking it instead. If they do understand some of their actions, it’s important to talk to them about integrity and doing the work necessary to learn and apply themselves. If it appears to be harder for them to focus or complete the work in school, it may be a good idea to loop in their teachers to come up with a better plan. Learning online may be more difficult for your child if they feel more pressure to find answers quickly or feel less connected than being in a classroom. If you are homeschooling, it’s vital to ask them what they need from you as a teacher to make the work more adaptable and attainable. Setting rules, such as no cell phones while they are doing their schoolwork, can help reduce the amount of screen time they can use to their advantage.  

Looking Forward

Regardless if the Internet makes information too easy to cheat or not, plagiarizing has always been around. People will always try to find new and more innovative ways in cutting corners and stealing other’s work. This doesn’t mean that everyone will do it, either, and having regular conversations with your kids will help them come to you first rather than relying on Google for their answers.    

Katie Kyzivat