The right to play on the internet at work isn't protected by the Constitution?

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Does it really surprise anyone that employers are cracking down on the use of social networking sites while at work? Much like pornography and eBay, those sites are best used when you're on your own time, not on your company's paid time.

I know, I know. Young workers need access to Facebook or Twitter like the rest of us need oxygen. It's essential to survival. How can you ever get through a day without knowing that your friend is on the way to the coffee shop to meet a friend or that your sister has just bought the cutest new shoes? Updates every few minutes are essential, because you are dying to know what everyone else is doing while you're... uh.... working. Yeah, working.

A survey in England found that employees are spending at least 30 minutes a day on Facebook or MySpace while they're supposed to be working. A couple of survey participants even admitted that they spend up to three hours a day on social networking sites while at work. Yikes.
I'm not surprised by these study results in the least. Many employees now have an attitude of entitlement. They believe the company is lucky that they show up, and the duty to put in a full day's work for that full day's pay is a bunch of silliness. They feel that they should have a right to surf the internet for fun, talk on their cell phones with their friends, and generally do anything but their jobs.

Inevitably, companies are blocking certain sites that encourage irresponsible employees to goof around at work. 43% of employers in England have blocked access to Facebook. Your employer may be next if you can't exercise a bit of self-control. And I don't have any problem with them blocking access to entertainment sites. If it doesn't pertain to your job, you don't need to access it while at work.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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