Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cyber Addiction

I know that it has been awhile since I've posted. You should be scared because I will have to make up for my lack of attention to my blog. Perhaps I have lost some of the 84 people that have viewed my blog in its short inception. I promise you bigger and better posts for 2007--(don't I sound political)?

I read this very interesting article on BusinessWeek's website this morning--titled 'Virtually Addicted.' I'll give you a short synopsis of the article:

There was a certain vet of the Vietnam War whom claims he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He'd been employed at IBM for 19 years. He was sacked as a result of a stool-pigeon that noticed his use of sexual language in an explicit chat room during office hours. IBM has basically a strict zero-tolerance policy on Internet usage. As a result, he was fired. The former employee then sued IBM stating that he had an Internet addiction.

The whole case sounded pretty cut and dry, meritless. Well that is until you delve deeper into the article. There are some experts that claim Internet addiction is a valid mental illness comparable to alcohol/narcotics addiction. In China they offer a 2 week rehabilitation for Internet addicts where you are treated for the illness.

The implication of this case stretches further than a pervert getting his rocks off. Instead it could force many insurance companies/business to alter their human resource policies to include dealing with such an issue.

At my company we don't have a zero tolerance policy. You will get a warning, and as some proponents in the article mention there is a progression of steps before you'd be fired. I still think the suit is meritless. Would you forgive a cigarette smoker for taking 20 breaks a day? Of course not. Productivity is the key. Someone that surfs the Internet can not maximize productivity or even come close to it. Manage your addiction during lunch time or during breaks--and be smart enough not to look at graphic content or type it where someone else can see it--or where it can be easily detected. This is coming from an MIS guy who really doesn't care what you do, as long as you don't compromise my network. HR obviously has other issues. And for the love of god don't have sticky keys either!

Virtually Addicted

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