TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Students once passed notes or looked over their shoulder to cheat.

These days, it’s as easy as just a few taps on a cell phone screen to tap into the right answers.

“Having technology so easily accessible makes it really easy to cheat.  And I’ve seen it all throughout my life almost, with technology so prevalent,” said University of Tampa freshman Eve Flett.

Phones. Computers. Tablets. Watches. Getting it right is getting easier-and-easier.

There’s even a website called ‘Quizlet’ where students can plug in a question and immediately get an answer.

“There’s opportunities,” said UT professor Patricia O’Grady.  “And students are now able to use those tools.”

While that opportunity exists, O’Grady believes it can be wiped out.

“I think in the digital age, you can take precautions.  If students don’t have access, obviously, to cell phones and watches during testing time, that would eliminate it,” O’Grady said.

The Manatee County School District makes that abundantly clear in its student code of conduct.

Students are allowed to bring personal phones or computers to class, but they must be turned off and out of sight.

“I don’t see cheating any different than when technology wasn’t pervasive in our schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene.  “I just think now they have other ways of providing themselves answers or possible answers to questions.”

Teachers are wise to this new kind of cheating.

“A teacher is going to see you on your phone or a laptop; it’s easier to hide a piece of paper if you wanted to,” said UT student Jessica Zajda.

But outside the classroom doors, there’s another world of ways to cheat thanks to the World Wide Web, a place where test questions and answers can be shared.

“It’s becoming more of a challenge for school districts where now parents are wanting us to monitor social media [and] punish or give students consequences for things that happen on social media.”

Challenges abound, and when it comes to students and social media, there’s no end in sight.

“Like any good tool in education, they have to be taught how to use it.  And they have to understand why it cannot and should not be abused,” O’Grady said.BONUS: 8 fun learning apps, websites to help your kid improve

Having kids in the digital age can come with drawbacks and benefits. Technology provides a world for kids that many adults never knew.

WFLA put together the following list of websites and apps that can benefit your child in his or her day-to-day learning.

  1. Kids Vocabulary, Grammar & Language learning games (ages 5 and under)
  2. Math Evolve: A Fun Math Game (ages 6 and up)
  3. Duolingo (teenagers)
  4. Math Buddy (all ages)
  5. TechEd (all ages)
  6. Cool Math (ages 3 to 12)
  7. National Geographic Kids (all ages)
  8. Funbrain (ages 4 to 12)

WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON: 

>>MORE STORIES