Skip to Main Content
Parent Reads

How to Protect Your Student from Accidental Plagiarism

How to Protect Your Student from Accidental Plagiarism

There’s no question that we live in a “Google everything” society. Today’s students have to learn how to find information quickly, not necessarily memorize it, when they use the internet for research or to write a paper.

Your student most likely does the first thing any of us would do. When they need to look something up, or find a definition, they go online. If they are working on an assignment, they copy and paste the definition into their document. However, this practice can become plagiarism if your student isn’t careful.

Using unauthorized content is a violation of intellectual property. What is intellectual property? This essentially means the creator of the “property,” like written content or images, technically owns the “rights” to that content.

Using content without authorization is a violation of that property. Although it is unlikely, students could potentially face legal action from the owner of that content. But more commonly, students who plagiarize experience academic consequences such as a failed report, test, course or grade.

There are a few common reasons students plagiarize. Oftentimes, this can happen when your student has not budgeted enough time to get something done. In a rush to finish their work, they will quickly find content online and use it to complete an assignment.

Your student may also be stressed out because they have multiple assignments due and they need to wrap something up quickly, so they go online to find the answers and submit their assignment.

Or, maybe your student isn’t even aware that what they are doing is plagiarism. It could be a simple misunderstanding that requires educating them about how to appropriately attribute their source or rephrase what they’ve found online into their own words.

We know that most of the time, the student is not doing it on purpose. They are not intentionally committing a crime or stealing. But it’s worth making your student aware that there could be real consequences for plagiarizing if they aren’t careful.

Share the following three strategies with your student to help them avoid plagiarism:

1)  Say it in your own words.

Never copy and paste information found online into your assignment to explain or define something as if it’s your own original work.

When researching something online to help you complete an assignment, put it in your own words and make sure what you include is authentically coming from you.

2) Cite your resources.

If you do quote a book, article, or other online resource, make sure to include quotation marks AND the author, work, or source. Here’s an example:

As Dr. Seuss once said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

3) Run it by your teacher.

Not sure if you did it right? Run your assignment by your teacher if you aren’t sure if you’ve cited a source correctly or successfully restated something in your own words.

If you are feeling panicked, ask for help from your teachers. They are there to help you understand topics, articulate what you’ve learned, and submit work that is truly your own.

How ALVS Can Help

We have teachers who guide ALVS students through this process and provide even more tips and insight on how to become strong and effective authors of their own content. To learn more about ALVS, visit:

Similar Blog Posts