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Forget porn, most hits are on news sites

28-September-2002
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Forget porn, most hits are on news sites

Just about any employer with enough money to provide workers an Internet connection are also spending a little extra to prevent them from visiting non-work websites. Yet many have no idea where those workers are whiling away most of the hours between nine and five.

A recent survey found that workers frequent online news sites more often than things like pornography, gambling, or even shopping sites - and they consider news one of the most addicting things available on the internet. "Initially we saw the most abuse in pornography and gambling sites, now we are seeing more time spent on shopping and news sites," said Harold Kester, chief technology officer of Websense which conducted the survey. But its survey showed that the boss does not always know the ways workers slack off.

Some 23% of those workers surveyed said they considered news the most addictive web content, compared with 18% who reported pornography, 8% for gambling and 6% online auctions. Overall news came in a very close second to online shopping, which 24% of those surveyed said they considered addictive. Yet these employee patterns did not reflect employers' concerns. The majority of workers surveyed - some 67% connections to read news. That compared with just 37% who were allowed access to shopping and auction sites, and a slim two percent of respondents who said they were allowed to visit gambling and porn sites.

Kester, of Websense, said these findings were more compelling when placed in the context of the rest of the survey, which showed workers spent upward of 20% of their time surfing the web. On average, those surveyed said they spent 8.3 hours a week on internet sites that had no relation to their jobs; most said they would sooner give up coffee than the internet. SurfControl, a British company that also makes internet monitoring products, says that employers are sometimes so focused on blocking access to content like porn and racism which could carry a legal liability, that they overlook the more obvious drains on worker productivity.

A lot of people have a personal interest in seeing how their stocks are doing, and somewhere around the world, there is always some kind of global sports event going on," said SurfControl CEO Steve Purdham. Companies such as Websense and SurfControl do not dictate how employers monitor the internet but allow them discretion in deciding which sites to block.

While they say many companies, especially those in more creative fields, are pretty liberal with respect to online news sites, others are determined that news has no place on the job.

Source: HindustanTimes.com/Reuters

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