'Nick News' Asks Why Kids Cheat

It's a credit to Linda Ellerbee and to Nickelodeon head honchos that Nick News still produces relevant specials for kids in prime time. Not just preachy cautionary raps or irrelevant stories about baby animals and child prodigies, but real investigations into what matters in a kids' world and why.

Having recently tackled kids with Cancer, stress over the economy, kids in rehab, and deadly allergies, Ellerbee now examines student cheating in her March 8 Nick News special Cheaters Never Win: True or False?.

The title tells it all -- this isn't your parents' or your teachers' lesson on cheating (which, as you may recall, amounted to a single word: DON'T). With 64% of high school kids admitting to cheating on a test in the last year, I agree it's time we look before we leap into "Just Say No."

Ellerbee's report will investigate how new technology makes it easier to cheat, and the ever-expanding list of cheating role models in society. This includes sports icons, politicians, talk show hosts, and entertainers, many of whom seem not to have been scarred by the experience. On some reality shows, cheating is often just another clever tactic to avoid elimination.

"If a kid hears that politicians cheat, corporate executives lie, athletes take illegal steroids or parents cheat on their income taxes, and that these people often get away with it, why are we surprised at the message that kid is getting?" says Ellerbee.

So, do cheaters win? We'd like the answer to be "no", but we know it to be something else. Yet by deep-diving into this issue and others without oversimplification or condescension, Ellerbee admirably refuses to cheat her young audience out of something they absolutely deserve: the truth.

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