Most American companies have disciplined or terminated employees for misuse of the Internet at work: survey

And employees in Europe admit to using the Internet during working hours to shop, arrange a holiday or watch sporting events

Nearly two-thirds of American companies have disciplined employees for Internet misuse in the workplace. And nearly a third have terminated employees for Net abuse, according to a new study by Websense, Inc. in the U.S.

About 90 per cent of employees in Europe say the Internet can be addictive and 41 per cent admit to personal surfing at work for more than three hours a week, according to a separate Websense survey. Websense is a global producer of Internet management software.

Employees surveyed said they routinely use the Internet at work to:
-book a holiday (52%);
-pursue education (42%);
-research a hobby (41%);
-visit a virtual store (28%); or
-watch a sporting event (27%).

Internet addiction
The Internet can be just as addictive as gambling, says American Internet expert James Fearing. He calls it a “craving in the brain” – a psychological addiction in the same way gambling is.

He estimates that in the U.S. between three and 11 million people are addicted to the Net. Those addicted – which does not include people who simply spend hours surfing or sending e-mail - experience a loss of control and an inability to stop surfing. Fearing says the best cure for Internet addiction is to quit cold turkey, getting the computer out of the house and even out of the office if possible. If that’s not reasonable, then Fearing suggests having someone monitor the addict’s computer useage at all times.

The three components of Internet addiction, says Fearing, are avoidance (when a person surfs nearly all day instead of dealing with their day-to-day problems), fantasy (when someone relies on the Internet to recreate themselves within a fantasy life which is played out in chat rooms), and sex (which includes pornography and cybersex).

Fearing estimates that Internet addictions have cost businesses millions of dollars.

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