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How Often do Children Lie?

Are Children Honest?

How Often do Children Lie? - Schoolchild Survey - Graph from Education Quizzes

Honesty is the best policy, or so we tell our children. But we all know, in reality it is sometimes in everyone’s best interests to lie. If we were all absolutely honest all of the time just imagine the hurt feelings that might cause. Although, we would be a lot safer from con men, fraudsters and advertisers!

For this week’s survey we wanted to find out how often children lie. You might think our results are unreliable. After all, who will admit that they tell lies? But the answers were collected in strictest confidence so our respondents hopefully were honest with their answers!

To find the answer we asked this question: “How often do you lie?” We gave a choice of five possible responses to try to cover every eventuality:

  • Never
  • Occasionally I'll tell a white lie
  • Sometimes, if I think it's the best option
  • Often, if it helps me get my own way
  • All the time

Survey Results

A total of 1,805 schoolchildren responded to our survey. The largest portion (37%) said that they lie sometimes if they think it is the best option. I agree with them. I would have given the same answer. I mean, little white lies to save people’s feelings, or slight lies to keep ourselves out of trouble for minor misdemeanours. In fact, I’m surprised more respondents didn’t give this answer.

The second most popular answer, on 23%, was “never”. That is a huge proportion of absolutely honest children. Almost a quarter of them NEVER tell lies. Either some of them are lying, or today’s younger generation are the most honest that have ever lived. Well done to them if that is the case.

Third place goes to occasionally telling white lies. This option received 21% of the vote. Again, I am a little surprised. I would have thought this would come out on top. After all, the only lies that society finds acceptable are little white ones.

The fourth most popular answer was lying often to get their own way. Now, this answer received 11% of the vote. That’s quite small which is a good thing. These sorts of lies are frowned upon to say the least and unlawful at worst. And just behind this on 8% were those who say that they lie all the time. Ironic – if they do lie all the time then they would have lied in their answer and given another, such as saying they never lie.

This makes me wonder, can you ever believe a liar? There is a famous riddle -
You are standing in front of two identical doors.
Behind one is a room full of riches. Behind the other is a prison cell.
The doors are guarded by two men. One always tells the truth, the other always lies.
By asking the guards for answers, how can you tell which door leads to the riches?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Ask either one of them which door the other one would say leads to the riches. The truthful one would point to the door which leads to a prison cell. The liar would point to the same.

EXPLORE OUR FULL RANGE OF CHILDREN’S SURVEYS

Full Results of our "Do children enjoy school?” Survey

Here are the results from the 1,805 children who answered our question "How often do you lie?". The survey was conducted in the week ending 14th March 2021.

How Often Do You Lie? Percentage of Respondents
All the time 8%
Never 23%
Occasionally I'll tell a white lie 21%
Often, if it helps me get my own way 11%
Sometimes, if I think it's the best option 37%

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