|American teenagers lie, steal and cheat
more at "alarming rates," a study of nearly 30,000 high school
students concluded Monday.
The attitudes and conduct of some 29,760 high school students
across the United States "doesn't bode well for the future when
these youngsters become the next generation's politicians and
parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and
generals," the non-profit Josephson Institute said.
In its 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, the Los
Angeles-based organization said the teenagers' responses to
questions about lying, stealing and cheating "reveals entrenched
habits of dishonesty for the workforce of the future."
Boys were found to lie and steal more than girls.
Overall, 30 percent of students admitted to stealing from a store
within the past year, a two percent rise from 2006. More than one
third of boys (35 percent) said they had stolen goods, compared to
26 percent of girls.
An overwhelming majority, 83 percent, of public school and
private religious school students admitted to lying to their parents
about something significant, compared to 78 percent for those
attending independent non-religious schools.
"Cheating in school continues to be rampant and it's getting
worse," the study found. Amongst those surveyed, 64 percent said
they had cheated on a test, compared to 60 percent in 2006. And 38
percent said they had done so two or more times.
Despite no significant gender differences on exam cheating,
students from non-religious independent schools had the lowest
cheating rate, 47 percent, compared to 63 percent of students
attending religious schools.
"As bad as these numbers are, it appears they understate the
level of dishonesty exhibited by America's youth," the study warned,
noting than more than a fourth of the students (26 percent) admitted
they had lied on at least one or two of the survey questions.
"Despite these high levels of dishonesty, these same kids have a
high self-image when it comes to ethics."
Some 93 percent of students indicated satisfaction with their own
character and ethics, with 77 percent saying that "when it comes to
doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."
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