TECHNOLOGY BRINGS NEW WAYS TO CHEAT, BULLY AT SCHOOLS
U.S. teenagers think they are savvy about cybersecurity — so much that nearly onethird skirt school safeguards to access banned content and 29 percent admit to using tech devices to cheat in school — but more than twice that many say they know of classmates who have cheated with devices, a survey found.
The findings of the survey by the computer security firm McAfee are in proportion with a 2009 survey by Common Sense Media — although the exact extent of cheating, and whether it’s changed over the years, is unknown.
It’s easy, students say, to take a cellphone photo of notes or test answers and peek at it surreptitiously while taking a test. At the same time, they note, vigilant teachers notice those wayward glances.
McAfee conducted the online survey in June of about 3,902 high school students ages 14 to 18 — 1,201 of them in the United States, the rest in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. In general, the percentages of reported cheating and accessing banned sites were higher in the United States.
So was the percentage of teenagers who reported being cyberbullied: 30 percent in the United States, compared with 22 percent in the survey overall. Of the U.S. students who said they’d been victimized, half of those reported incidents before starting high school.
Those figures are disheartening, considering the effort put into raising awareness of cyberbullying and fighting it, said Gary Davis of McAfee. He suggested educating children starting at an early age to help them stay safe online. “They need to understand what they should do to not be a victim.”
Some teenagers said the survey may understate the prevalence of cyberbullying.
“It does surprise me, I’d expect it to be higher,” said Julia Kolman, 16, a rising senior at Branham High School in San Jose, Calif.
“A lot of people take to Twitter to create fake accounts or use personal accounts to harass other students.” Kolman herself doesn’t use social media much, but like many of her peers, hears about the repercussions and drama from it.
Among the platforms that the survey indicated are most used for cyberbullying among U.S. teenagers, Facebook appeared at the top, with 71 percent, followed by Instagram, with 62 percent, and Snapchat, with 49 percent.
The ease of creating multiple accounts with pseudonyms and the ability to post anonymously create an inviting and unmoderated forum, some teenagers say.