Kiwis think lying is OK, survey shows

BRIDGET JONES
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2012

Fibs, Half truths, telling stories, white lies. No matter what you call it, a lie is still a lie. But is a lie bad? It turns out, not so much for young Kiwis.

According to a recent survey of 500 New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30, almost 90 per cent of us think it's OK to lie, cheat or steal ... at least occasionally.

The stats range from the small, almost expected cheating in card and board games (92 per cent), more than half of us admitted to cheating on high school homework, a quarter at University work and one in five cheat in the odd combination of relationships and/or sport.

And that's just the half of it. Some of the numbers are actually quite scary, especially when 87 per cent of people surveyed said they are satisfied with their personal ethics and character.

But there seems to be a reason for this "it's OK to do the wrong thing" mentality. 

It's all the media's fault.

"Every person is constantly pressured by the media and the society to bend the rules. The image of a person who is successful due to not playing by the book is extremely popular, so everyone gives in to it at some point."

Those are the words of one of the young people surveyed, but does the rationalisation stack up?

I reckon it kind of does. Think about the TV shows or films you have watched recently. Now think about how many of those feature characters cheating on a partner, lying to get ahead, breaking the law, and all the while being cheered on by you, the audience.

Whether it's a gangster classic or something as innocuous as Titanic, it's there. It's in our faces. 

We are, more often than not, rooting for the girl to be with the guy, even if there's another girl in the way because, well, they are obviously meant to be together. Remember Rose was involved with someone else before she fell for the charms of Jack, and well before the ship sunk.

Secret relationships, cloak-and-dagger love affairs are okay, as long as it ends well on the screen. Because that's always the way it goes in real life, isn't it?

And then there is the issue of stealing. How many action flicks are built around the idea of a bank robbery or a stolen car chase or even something a little more believable.

Sure, a kid that goes to see Fast and Furious number 74 is hardly going to think nicking a car is something you can easily get away with (hopefully), but when they see it happen enough, and with almost no consequences on the other side, they might just think about it in a smaller version. If Vin Diesel can get away with that, how come I can't take a chocolate bar?

Because it is wrong kids. And so is sneaking money from the bank in a game of Monopoly.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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