Magazine article State Legislatures

Our Young People Don't Know Right from Wrong

Magazine article State Legislatures

Our Young People Don't Know Right from Wrong

Article excerpt

In the eyes of youth, honesty may not be the best policy and cheaters always prosper. That's according to a two-year study of young people and adults by the Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics.

"There's a hole in the moral ozone, and it is probably getting bigger," says Michael Josephson, president of the Institute. There is significant evidence, he says, that the present 15- to 30-year-old generation is more likely to engage in dishonest and irresponsible conduct than previous generations. But, he says, "whether things are worse or not, they are clearly bad enough."

This study shows beyond question that an exceptionally high number of young people act dishonestly or irresponsibly. Many steal, lie and cheat on the job, in school and in their personal relationships.

The survey's findings are based on a 100-page survey of 8,965 young people between the ages of 15 and 30 from across the country. Most had middle- and upper-middle-class backgrounds, and attended public, private and religious high schools and colleges.

More than one-third of all high school and college students said they would lie on a resume or job application to get a job, and 16 percent of the high school students and 18 percent of the collegians said they already had done so at least once. Twenty-one percent of college students said they would falsify a report if it was necessary to keep their job. Thirty-nine percent of the college students said they lied to their boss, and 35 percent said they lied to a customer within the past year. …

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