Technology Blurring the Line Between Right and Wrong: Kids Safety

Cell phones keep us connected. They're convenient, save us time, and could even save our lives in a true emergency. But when used irresponsibly, mobile phones can wreak havoc. And it appears that technology is blurring the line between right and wrong – for our kids, anyway.

One study from Common Sense Media reports that 1 in 3 kids use their cell phones to cheat on tests, but that 1 in 4 kids surveyed didn't think that accessing notes during a test, texting friends with answers during a test, or using their cell to search the Internet for answers is cheating.

The incidence of plagiarism, the other bane of a teacher's existence, has skyrocketed since the advent of the Internet. How much easier is it to cut and paste blocks of text, maybe even mixing them up a bit to make the work appear original, than to painstakingly transcribe words from a copyrighted book or magazine article?
And yet, one wonders how much kids would be participating in these activities without cell phones. If they are sitting in the exam room, panicking because their mind just went blank, they are heavily tempted by the cell phone in their pocket or backpack that can dispense answers with a 5-second text or Google search.

The same goes for cyberbullying or sexting. Kids say cruel things to others online that they would never say to in person (there was even an ad by the National Crime Prevention Council about it), and kids who sext wouldn't dream of developing racy self-portraits and handing them out at the door of their high school.

Enabled by technology, many kids do these things and don't even realize that they're wrong. Don't assume that your kids won't use their phones to cheat at school, cyberbully, or sext – even if they are good kids. Sometimes when there is a tiny cell phone in a teen's back pocket, common sense can go out the window.

-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans


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