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Dateline NBC

Smile Kids! Your Parents Set

You Up in Cheating Investigation

4/30/2012 7:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Dateline NBC
pulled a fast one in a hidden camera investigation last night -- but instead of targeting pedophiles, they took down middle schoolers cheating on a phys ed. test ... and the kids' parents were in on the sting.

Here's the premise: the kids were told they have to complete an obstacle course to audition for an "ultimate challenge" TV show. Unknown to the kids, Dateline is secretly recording the test ... and they've planted an actress who encourages the kids to cheat by inflating their scores. Also, their parents are sitting in a nearby room watching the whole thing go down.

The first time through the course the kids try to stop the actress from lying ... and insist on posting their real results. However, the second time, some of them give in and agree to fudge the numbers.

Natalie Morales then walks out -- playing the Chris Hansen role -- and tells the kids they've been set up to see if they cheat. The shocked looks on their faces are priceless ... especially when they hear their parents were in on it.

Dateline said the report was intended to show how peer pressure affects kids. But here's the thing -- shame on NBC and the parents for setting up the kids on national tv to teach 'em the lesson.

What happened to talking to your kids at home?


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Don't blame the parents. Blame the kids for cheating...... It's a sad day when people use deflections from the fact someone is cheating. Who cares if it was on national tv. If anything, maybe one of them won't cheat next time.

870 days ago


Excuse me but NBC and these parents are GREAT!!.....I know alot of teachers and kids are mean,spoiled,lazy,and money hungry.....I think this was great for the kids and hats off too the parents.........Lets talk about those real bad teachers that picked on a slow kid at cherrywood school in new jersey not NBC

870 days ago


Why talk to your kids at home when you can be on the God - television!

870 days ago


Are you kidding? Of course middle schoolers would cheat, sell their little souls, anything to be on a tv show!! I don't think this test was fair. At least their first instinct was to tell the truth but the lure of tv was too much. Totally normal!!

870 days ago

Cheryl A.    

Sometimes we parents teach until we are blue in the face but seeing this all over the country is a great way to hopefully, teach your children that someone is ALWAYS watching what they do. I try to teach my kids to behave as if they are being taped all the time so I guess it's not a shocker to me that someone actually did it.

870 days ago


Oh yeah I vote for neither one.....GO NBC and good parents

870 days ago


I don't see anything wrong with either NBC or the parents... it's exposing something that happens all the time, with kids, but adults as well. There's a lot of pressure on kids to avoid being a "snitch" these days... so what do they do? I think this is great, a wonderful, harmless and controlled lesson.

870 days ago


You know, the real problem here is they feel that every little aspect and problem of modern life has to be televised with "moderators" like Natalie Morales coming in to pass judgement. Guess what, gym sucked in my day, especially for the kids like me who sucked at sports. So how about creating programs where kids can get exercise but not have to go through the ultra-competitive bull****? Make exercise interesting for kids. But do we need a stupid sting show where Natalie shows us kids will cheat at an insipid gym class? How about a Chris Hansen sting where they prove many kids don't do their homework? How about these parents actually doing some parenting at home instead of another bull**** series?

870 days ago


The only thing this shows is that kids have a moral compass, but are malleable in the face of adult authority. This is a well known fact, and NBC is disgusting in their exploitation of both parents (who are guilty of their own stupidity for going along with this) and the kids.

870 days ago


Ummmm, why are there only white kids? Quick, someone get Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson!!!!!

870 days ago



870 days ago


I think that parents should be the best role models for their kids. If there were more parents willing to sit and talk to their kids (even about the uncomfortable stuff), then more kids would know right from wrong. Instead, these days, we have parents who sign contracts for their kids to promote their teen pregnancy, parents who parade their kids on stage dressed like hookers, parents who have kid after kid after kid and either try to make a buck off of them by getting a TV show, or end up mooching off the system... and society rewards THESE parents by watching the TV shows. I want to see a TV show where a teen/young adult gets rewarded FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING.. not doing the wrong things. I don't blame these parents or the network. I blame the kids for cheating. They are old enough to know it's wrong. Calling them out on TV... lame.

870 days ago


Funny that TMZ automatically assumes that people would think this is 'heinous'. Didn't the kids and their parents sign release forms allowing their footage to be aired?

870 days ago


The NBC network is full of amateurs. This isn't reporting.

870 days ago



870 days ago
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