Across the education landscape, students, educators, and researchers like you are working hard to combat academic dishonesty. Every year, individuals from around the world come together on the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating to drive awareness and urgency to this growing problem. Here are five things you need to know about contract cheating that will hopefully inspire action:
- Essay cheating is on the rise. Contract cheating is increasing at a conspicuous rate, according to data that represents approximately 31 million students worldwide. These numbers illustrate how the threat of contract cheating is global and cannot be ignored.
- Social media is an active recruiting tool. Twitter, like many social media channels, allows essay mills unfettered access to at-risk students by creating a falsely secure channel for introductions. A student can post a casual “I’m so stressed! I’d do anything to finish this paper!” to which a contract writer can simply reply: “DM me! I can help!” By granting access, students then open themselves up to exploitation.
- YouTube influencers are enabling it. In addition to the stress already bombarding individuals at the secondary and higher education level, well-known online personalities are now being hired by essay mills to prey upon the insecurities and anxieties of students.
- Universities are cracking down. Institutions across Europe are starting to take action. Administrations feel that the essay mills themselves need to be held accountable for misleading students and they’re eager to disrupt (and ultimately, eliminate) this unethical industry.
- Students could face criminal prosecution. Whether they realize it or not, students involved in contract cheating may also be committing criminal offenses and could be found responsible for serious crimes like fraud or forgery.
The practice of contract cheating will persist unless institutions, educators, students, and industry partners unite to take action.