It’s really a shame that some lines have become so blurred in our society that people need to be told what is and is not proper computer use at work. Basic common sense should apply but for some odd reason it doesn’t where computers are concerned. Keep in mind that because you are either using a company computer, or at the very least their internet service, there is no expectation of privacy. Most companies can and do monitor what their employees do online.
Are you worried about the 2-3 times a day you check your personal email or the break you take while checking your Facebook account? Most companies don’t really care about those kinds of things, but you are likely giving them more access into your personal life than you would prefer. Of course, by break, I mean a brief period of time – say, 15 minutes or less. If you spend all day on it, that is another matter.
Most companies have policies for browsing the Internet for personal reasons on company time. Check with yours and pay attention to how closely it’s followed. Without a doubt there is some behavior that is best left entirely private. Searching and viewing pornography, written or visual, is always a bad idea. Most people know this instinctively but judging from the number of people fired for it each year, many people don’t grasp this simple concept. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t do it if your boss was watching you, don’t do it at all. The monitoring system is watching and you would probably rather not discuss your Internet viewing habits during your next performance review.