From peeking at a neighbor’s test in school to sneaking a second helping of dessert when no one’s looking, everybody seems to cheat a little every now and then. In fact, if you’re like most people, statistics show that you’ve probably already fibbed a time or two today. Lying and cheating have been an ugly little fact of life for a long time, but today’s generation of students and young professionals show a startling trend in attitudes toward cheating: The average young person doesn’t just admit to lying and cheating more often than previous generations, they also often believe that lying and cheating are a necessary fact of life. If you’re a student, chances are you’ve given someone the answers to a quiz, “borrowed” a friend’s paper, or even collaborated on a test when you shouldn’t. These are all behaviors that have been present in academics for decades, but the alarming fact about this behavior is how it sets adolescents up for their actions as an adult. Studies show that students who regularly cheat in school are far more likely to participate in dishonest conduct as adults, from swindling a customer to cheating on a spouse. If adolescents today are behaving more dishonestly than ever, what will they look like as adults tomorrow?
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