How Social Media Encourages Plagiarism (and Six Ways You Can Fight It)
“Has the ubiquity of social media given plagiarism new life?
Sharing other people’s thoughts, jokes and artwork on the Internet is an everyday act. We repost so much so frequently that some platforms, such as Facebook, have been compelled to develop their own citation rules to combat plagiarism. Even so, students spend much of their time in an environment where authorship is not held in high regard.
It’s no wonder, then, that plagiarism is on the rise. In surveys of more than 70,000 high school students by the International Center for Academic Integrity, 58% admitted to plagiarism. And in her book My Word!, University of Notre Dame Professor Susan Blum writes that 68% of college students admit to ‘cutting and pasting material from the Internet without citation.’ Whether or not the Internet is to blame, plagiarism seems to have become more socially acceptable across grade levels.
How do we prevent it?
Here are some techniques to help prevent plagiarism—and address it when it happens:
- Make your assignments stand out and require your students to do more than a quick Google search. Use innovative wording for your essay topics so that students can’t quickly find a sample essay that addresses your prompt. Add an analytical request to your assignment, asking students to apply the theoretical concepts they’re writing about. If you assign a paper on the features of a novel as a genre, for example, name a specific novel you’d like them to analyze for those features.
- Talk to your students about the ethics of plagiarism, making it clear why it’s wrong and how it hurts them. Many schools have honor codes; use these as a starting point to engage students in personal conversations.”