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Infographic: Mobile phone usage encourages cheating, researchers say

Could technology be creating a society of distrust? According to a new infographic, absolutely.

Cheating, both on tests and on spouses, is being linked to mobile phone use, more specifically texting. A recent study showed that people feel more deceived during text message communication than any other form of contact.

According to the report, 95 per cent of college students admitted that they are more likely to feel misled reading a text message than through video chat. Meanwhile, 31 per cent feel the same way regarding face-to-face interaction, and another 18 per cent said they are more trusting of phone calls than texts.

Those results shouldn't come as a surprise, since electronic communication often does not reveal eye contact, body language, or voice inflection. Texts also allow for careful planning of thoughts, instead of just spitting them out in person.

Whether or not mobile phones are truly to blame, they "certainly leave students feeling deceived," researchers said. They also provide an easy means of cheating.

According to the survey, 35 per cent of teenagers admitted to using a mobile phone during school to cheat at least once. The most common practices are storing information to look at during a test (26 per cent), taking pictures of test questions to share with friends (17 per cent), or searching the Internet for answers (20 per cent).

Cheating techniques have evolved with the changing technology. The researchers pointed out that the antiquated practice of writing answers on your hand, glancing at a neighbour's paper, or sneaking a peek at your tiny notes have been replaced by text-messaged answers, Google search, and listening to pre-recorded MP3 answers.

The habit is apparently well known, since 65 per cent of students reported other kids cheating, the survey found. Parents are aware, as well. Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed realise that cheating via mobile phones happens as their child's school; only 3 per cent believe their offspring is guilt-free.

Though the simple answer to the cheating plague is to remove the temptation by not allowing mobile phones in the classroom, it may not do much to change students' minds. According to the survey, a quarter of students don't even consider checking notes on a mobile phone during a test, searching the Web for an answer, or texting solutions to friends to be cheating.