Social Media Sites Have Made Cheating Very Difficult To Combat

WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The superintendent for the West Islip School District said 12 students used Facebook to cheat on their biology homework and exam.

“Last week, the West Islip High School principal received an anonymous letter alleging that some students in a ninth grade science class had participated in a Facebook group that shared homework, lab, and test answers,” Superintendent Richard Simon told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall on Friday.

“For as long as I’ve been in education, which is 40 years, kids have found ways to help each other and often helping each other on homework and assignments can evolve into cheating,” he added.

He said that, in many ways, social media makes it easier for students to cheat.

“You can quickly, you know, snap a picture of your homework and post it,” he said.

Simon said the students were punished, but would not say how. He also said that he plans to use the incident as a “teachable moment.”

Students told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan that the convenience of social media also comes with risks.

“With all of the advanced technology with Twitter and Facebook, you have to be careful what you write,” Rob Ulrich said.

At West Islip High the scandal has been the talk of the hallways, where students told CBS 2 that cheating may be more common than many people believe.

“I’ve heard a lot of negative talk about it. I don’t really think they should be punished too bad. Everybody’s done it,” Raymond Kane said.

He also said the Facebook page was taken down.

Experts offered advice on how parents can combat cheating, even as technology evolves.

“We must walk that fine line between being overly intrusive and at the same time vigilant,” guidance expert Andrew Malekoff told CBS 2’s Don Champion.

A 2012 survey of 23,000 students found that 51 percent admitted to cheating. That number was down from 59 percent in 2010.

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