10 Reasons Why Cheating Is Wrong

Talking Points for Parents to Share With Teens

Make sure your teen knows what constitutes cheating.
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Cheating has become an epidemic among teenagers.It's become so common that many teens think it's normal and many of them don't understand what constitutes cheating and why it is wrong. 

In 2012, 51 percent of teens admitted they had cheated on an exam in the past year and 32 percent admitted they had copied an Internet document for an assignment. An additional 55 percent of students surveyed said they'd lied to a teacher about something significant in the past year.


Technology makes it easier than ever for teens to cheat. They use their smartphones to look up answers in class--or to text the answers to their friends. Or, they can take someone else's work from the Internet and try to pass it off as their own.

Some teens think they're helping their friends by doing their work for them. Others say they cheat because they feel like they're under immense academic pressure.

Regardless of the reason, it's important to have ongoing conversations with your teen about cheating. Here are the top 10 talking points to share with your teen about why cheating is wrong.

1.) Cheating is lying. Whether you copy off someone else's paper, or you plagiarize something you found online, you're claiming that you are responsible for the work.

2.) Cheating is a form of theft. Taking someone's work and calling it your own is stealing.

3.) Cheating is unfair to others. Students who work hard to get good grades shouldn't have to compete with those who aren't doing their own work.

Also, people will someday believe in your abilities. If your abilities are not real because you cheated, you will let those people down.

4.) Cheating is self-degrading. When you cheat, you are telling yourself that you do not believe in your own abilities enough to do the work on your own.

5.) Cheating is unfair to you.

Accomplishment feels good and helps build self-esteem and self-confidence. These are two very important things to a happy successful adult.

6.) Cheating makes the next learning step harder. Using a simple example: if you don't learn your elements in Chemistry class you will not be able to make complex chemical equations. Therefore, to pass you will have to cheat again or start from scratch. It's easier to just learn the basics the first time.

7.) Cheating kills trust. Get caught cheating just once and authority figures will always have a hard time trusting you--even if you never cheat again.

8.) Cheating causes stress. Passing someone else's work off as your own means you'll have to be dishonest and being deceitful is inherently stressful.

9.) Cheating is an insult to those who are teaching you. Knowledge is power and when someone shares knowledge with you it is a gift.

10.) Cheating doesn't end in high school. Cheating often becomes a shortcut. It turns into a bad habit that can follow you throughout college and your future career. Instead of being 'someone who cheated,' you're likely to become 'an ongoing cheater.'

Talking to Your Teen

Hold regular conversations with your teen about cheating.

Ask questions like, "Do any of your friends cheat?" or "Is cheating a big problem in your school?"

Listen to what your teen has to say about cheating. Provide education on the dangers of cheating and be sure to discuss what types of behavior constitutes cheating. 

Be a good role model. If you cheat on your taxes or you're dishonest when you're returning items to a store, your teen will learn it's OK to cheat the system. Show your teen the importance of being honest, even when it's hard. 

Updated by Amy Morin, LCSW.


Character Counts: Biennial Report Card on American youth by Josephson Institute of Ethics

American Psychological Association: Beat the Cheat