To Cheat or Not to Cheat

Cheating is the act of breaking the rules through dishonesty or deception. People cheat to give themselves an unfair advantage. You can cheat at cards, cheat on a test at school, cheat at sports, and some people even say you can cheat death. Well, maybe for a while you can cheat death.

It’s cheating when an 11 year-old boy plays soccer on a 10-and-under team. Sure, he’s the star player and his team comes in first, but it’s not fair to anyone when he scores goal after goal.

It’s cheating when you use someone else’s idea for an English paper, copy your friend’s homework, or sneak the answers to a math test into the room with you. And just so you’ll know, using someone else’s work, like a paper you found on the Internet, is cheating, too. It’s called plagiarism.

Everyone will tell you cheating is wrong. But, it's still tempting because cheating makes things that are hard seem easy. If you ask people why they do it, here’s what you’ll hear:

  • “I want to win.”
  • “I’m afraid of getting a bad grade.”
  • “School is too hard.”
  • “I don’t have time to study.”
  • “Everybody else cheats, too!"
Certain things tend to happen when you cheat. For one, it will make you feel bad about yourself, robbing you of confidence and self-respect. When people find out you cheated, they’ll lose respect for you because cheating undermines trust. It doesn’t feel good when people, like your teachers and friends, don’t trust you.

Cheating can become a habit, but like many other bad habits, you can always choose to stop. Talk it over with a parent, teacher, or counselor. Choosing to play fair and to be honest will make you feel better about yourself. It’s never too late to stop.

See more bad habits.