Problems with plagiarism in the digital age
Tugsoo Enthtaiven from Mongolia is in Grade 10
American Anthena Zhu is in Grade 9
Tom Zeng is from China and in Grade 9
South African Nebrashka Veltman is in Grade 10
The Internet is perhaps the greatest resource for information available to children and is an essential part of their education, but with this wealth of information comes the temptation to attribute other people’s hard work as their own. Plagiarism is rife at all levels of the education system, and with increased pressure to get good grades and secure placement at a good university, the temptation will most likely only continue. tbjkids sat down with four students from the Beijing City International School to talk about their feelings on Internet cheats, the pressure of deadlines and the importance of your own ideas.
What is plagiarism?
Nebrashka: I think plagiarism is when people take information that isn’t theirs and don’t cite where they got the information.
Anthena: Yeah, but it has a little more to do with if you copy an idea, you should refer to who you are getting the idea from.
Tugsoo: Yes, but you also have to put quotation marks on something that you haven’t said. You aren’t allowed to take credit for it.
Tom: If you establish an idea from someone else’s idea and you don’t say where it’s from, then that could be considered plagiarism.
How would you feel if one of your friends plagiarized some of your work?
Tugsoo: I’d feel bad because it’s one of my own pieces of work and they have just copied it and said that it’s their own work.
Tom: Yeah, you’ve done all the work but they get the credit. It’s not fair.
Anthena: I’d be really upset with them because if they were my friend then why the hell would they copy from me?
Is it hard to draw the line in using someone else’s ideas and plagiarizing outright?
Nebrashka: Sometimes it’s OK. For example, I’m from South Africa and I know that Nelson Mandela was the president of South Africa. I don’t have to cite something like that because I know it from my own knowledge.
Tugsoo: Well, everybody knows that, so you don’t have to cite it.
Why do you think people
Tugsoo: Students plagiarize because they have so many deadlines.
Tom: And they wait until the last minute to do their work.
Tugsoo: So they are left with no choice other than to plagiarize from the Internet.
Do you think the Internet plays a big part in people using other people’s work?
Tom: Wikipedia isn’t available in China, but in other countries you can get most of the information on any subject you need from there. You can just copy the information directly from it.
Tugsoo: When people are stressed and have an overwhelming amount of homework, or they procrastinate and they are unable to finish their homework, then that’s when they are tempted to just copy things from the Internet.
Anthena: I think it was a big problem but now teachers can just copy a sentence from your work and search for it on the Internet. If a teacher finds out, then you’re in a lot of trouble, and you might have to redo the assignment or even worse.
Tugsoo: Internet users are getting larger in numbers than before and there are more ways to get around this.
Do you think that because school life is getting so much more competitive, people are plagiarizing more?
Tom: Especially in China. The amount of people going to college every year is so high but the spaces are limited. There are just way too many people wanting to go to college. They have to beat each other to get into the places so people will do anything they can to get in.
Anthena: Personally, I wouldn’t do that because once you get into college you have more papers to write and if you keep it up you’re eventually going to get caught. You’ve learned nothing if you’re just copying all the time.