Disclaimers or no, plagiarism is illegal and cheating is wrong. But these glossy sites make it seem as if everyone is doing it and that they're merely providing a necessary service to students by helping them to reduce their workloads. Only one site's logo seems the most honest reflection of why I suspect many of its visitors are there: "Because I just don't care." To a generation of kids under the impression that any information found on the World Wide Web is factual, and that Internet searches constitute 'real' research, it is not a far leap for them to believe that such sites are offering valid assistance for students.
Of course, the world — and county — we live in is highly competitive, and cheating is probably a byproduct. In our culture, kids as young as grade school age are taught that competitiveness is the norm, and as parents, we tend to reward it right from the beginning. Children learn quickly that losing is bad, and this fuels a strong desire in them to do well in everything. On its own, there's nothing wrong with wanting to get ahead, but experts say that the values we demonstrate at home set the example for how our children will behave when an opportunity to cheat comes along. Many adults occasionally cheat, in situations as simple as not admitting to having received too much change at the supermarket, which is essentially a lie of omission. But such episodes send a message to our children that cheating when it's convenient, or when it doesn't seem to hurt anyone, is acceptable. Being aware of the examples we set empowers us as important role models for preventing dishonesty. It also builds the foundation from which our children will draw when they are faced with opportunities to lie or cheat. Keeping those newly forming consciences alive and well will help a lot.
So I'll continue to end our board games mid-stride if I have to, at the slightest showing of cheaters — even if it makes me the poopy parent on family game night. They may not appreciate it now, but if it helps my kids learn and live the valuable lesson of honesty, they will always come out winners.