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Poll: 1 In 5 Teens Use Web To Cheat

One in every five American teenagers admits using the Internet to plagiarize material for school assignments, according to a poll.

The survey found that 24 percent of the boys and 14 percent of the girls said they had done so at least once. The actual number of teens who behave in this fashion could well be higher.

"Survey respondents sometimes find it difficult to admit to an interviewer they've done things that are illegal or unethical. While teenagers might be less susceptible than adults to this, there's a good chance the actual percentage might be higher," said Kathleen Frankovic, director of surveys for CBS News.

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The poll also showed that the Internet has become an integral part of teen study habits. Ninety percent of U.S. teens say they use the Web to research school assignments, including 57 percent who say they do so frequently.


Researching School Work

Instant Messaging

Downloading Music


Posting On Sites

Reading Posts

Playing Games

Watching Videos

Visiting News Web Sites

Uploading Photos

Other highlights of the poll included:

  • Despite the rapidly increasing use of high-tech gadgets, 57 percent of teens say being the deprived of technology for a week – including cell phones, iPods and computers – wouldn't matter either way to them, and 10 percent say they would feel relieved. Nevertheless, about a third of all teens say they would be lost without technology for a week.
  • The Internet now rivals TV in popularity. On average, teens who use the Internet report spending 2.9 hours online on a typical day. Teens who watch TV also report spending 2.9 hours in front of the tube on a typical weekday.
  • The Internet has also emerged as a major social venue. Nearly half of teens post something on Web sites like Facebook or MySpace at least occasionally.
  • Despite -- or perhaps because of -- widespread publicity about Internet-related sex crimes, most teens proceed with caution. Only 10 percent say they are even somewhat likely to date someone they met online. Similarly, only 1 in 10 teens say they regularly communicate with people they have never seen or met.
  • Shopping is not on teens' Internet radar. Only 6 percent say they use the Web frequently for shopping, and 3 out of 4 teens rarely or never shop online.
  • News, surprisingly, blows away shopping. Four in 10 teens visit news Web sites at least occasionally, though less than one in five say they do so frequently.

    The poll also confirms some commonly held beliefs about teen use of technology and the Internet. About two-thirds of teens, for example, use the Web for e-mail, and more than half go online to download music.

    A majority – 67 percent - own a cell phone, and a little less than half (45 percent) say they have a iPod. Six in 10 teens use their cell phones to send text messages, and four in 10 use them to take photos. Girls use the phones more often than boys to send text messages and snap pictures.

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