10 On Your Side investigates students using smart watches to cheat

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – High school students are using new smart watches to cheat on exams. The devices can be linked with smart phones so that information will appear on the watch. A local high school freshman tells 10 On Your Side he has witnessed smart watch cheating.

Students link the watch with a smart phone nearby, typically in their backpacks beneath their desks. The phone can send a cheat sheet, web pages and other information to the watch via Bluetooth.

“I’ve seen kids cheating with them,” said the student who wants to remain anonymous. “I’ve seen kids Googling with them, searching the answers for their tests.”

The student says classmates have bragged about cheating, and shown him how to link the devices. He said the most recent case was May 6.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools says it will investigate once it receives a formal complaint about the practice.

The local reports of smart watch cheating follow similar cases elsewhere. Universities in Europe and the GRE grad school exam in the United States have banned the wearing of smart watches or all watches during tests.

Tyler Young, an electrical engineer and tech enthusiast, says he’s not surprised high school students have figured out how to get test answers delivered to their wrists. “One of the shocking things was that 15-year-olds even have smart watches.”

Although smart watches are advertised for anywhere from $300 to $1000 for popular brands, knockoff versions are available for much less. 10 On Your Side found smart watches linkable with smart phones for as low as $25 on the internet.

According to the student who contacted 10 On Your Side, the cheaters hid the watches under jackets or long sleeves, and would wait until teachers weren’t paying attention. But technology is constantly advancing, and using a smart watch to cheat may soon become even easier.

Young says updates coming soon will enable the user of a smart watch to scroll through information simply by rotating the wrist, without the need to touch the watch with the other hand.

School policies on cheating, student conduct and the use of electronic devices:

Chesapeake Public Schools
Hampton Public Schools
Newport News Public Schools
Norfolk Public Schools
Portsmouth Public Schools
Suffolk Public Schools
Virginia Beach Public Schools

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