Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You
Chapter 7 – A Safe Work Place

“Brazen Use”

Porn use at work is now so widespread that just about every company has a monitoring system in place. According to a 2008 Nielsen online study, 25 percent of employees with internet connections use them to visit porn sites, which is up 23 percent from the previous year.1 A recent survey found that employees spend an average of 1.86 hours per eight-hour workday on something other than their job, not including lunch and scheduled breaks. Based on those averages, employee time-wasting actions cost U.S. employers an estimated 544 billion dollars in lost productivity each year.

More than half (52 percent) of the 2,706 people surveyed admitted that their biggest distraction during work hours is surfing the internet for personal use. For the record, other distractions cited by respondents included socializing with co-workers (26.3 percent), running errands outside the office (7.6 percent), and simply spacing out (6.6 percent).

A national survey of U.S. employees who have internet access at work found that 24 percent said they’d used a company computer for romantic/sexual purposes. Twelve percent said they’d accessed sexual content from a workplace computer, and 12 percent had forwarded sexual content to other employees while at work. Six percent had engaged in sexual instant message sessions while at work, while 10 percent
had used an o”ce computer for online dating.

Some unsuspecting internet users get lulled into a sense of security and confess that, because they have never been warned or gotten caught, they think they are okay. Nothing could be further from the truth. You may feel safe surfing at work, but the truth is, if your company
is monitoring your internet access, you’re putting yourself and your job at risk. All online traffic, both incoming and outgoing, is monitored, a “firewall” is in place for security purposes, and all traffic is registered. Created to prevent hackers, firewall logs list all connections and actions.

Here are some reasons you may not have been caught yet: many IT directors don’t feel that it is their job to “out” people who violate company policy. Either they have not been empowered to blow the whistle, or the person they have to out is their supervisor or superior. Imagine having to let the cat out of the bag that the CFO is dabbling in porn. They know but aren’t telling anybody. Other IT directors and system administrators don’t have the time to review individual usage reports.

Each day—or in some cases, each week—reports are run and directed to the administrators, who review them either electronically or manually, looking first for hacking attempts. This is when porn websites that have been visited may be discovered. An accidental discovery of an employee’s secret use of porn sites may result in the loss of his or her job.

Porn online is not the only thing to avoid. Spending time on gambling sites, chat rooms, social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, and blogs unrelated to work content can all be considered a lack of productivity, which is grounds for termination.

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