Needless to say, this sharp rise in secrecy and clandestine activity is largely due to the multitude of technical resources we have at our fingertips. Plus, the workplace, by providing access to more people, phones and computers offers a fertile breeding ground for crossing the line of commitment. A survey by Spherion found four out of ten U.S. workers admitted to being involved with a co-worker at some point. A New York-based career publishing company found 17 percent of workers have actually been found having sex on the job! And the number keeps growing. Nielsen Online reported that one quarter of employees who use the Internet visit porn sites during the workday—up from 23 percent in the previous year. In a SurfControl survey of 350 U.S. companies, half of all workers said they’d been exposed to sexually explicit material by co-workers. Atlanta-based Delta Consulting polled 50 executives from 50 Fortune 500 companies and found that half of the executives have dealt with at least one incident related to porn in the workplace during the past 12 months and in 44 percent of the cases the offenders were fired and an additional 41 percent were disciplined. Cyber-skiving (skimming time from work to shop, surf) is estimated to account for as much as 30-40% of lost worker productivity and 90% of U.S. workers admit to doing it. But shopping for a shirt is one thing; shopping for sex is another, whether it’s with a porn star or a person you know.
The simplest antidote for the seductive call of cyber infidelity is an open air policy. This is good advice for children as well as adults. People closest to us have a clear sense of when we have violated our own core values or commitment. Of course privacy is important, even in love and marriage, but transparency makes life simple and honest. There’s a quick way to know if you have violated your fidelity commitment: ask your partner. “Hon, is it OK with you if I get up at night after you are asleep and email Suzy/Sam at work?” Or, “Here, check out this porn site I’m paying for.” If the thought of this strikes fear or anger in your heart, perhaps you need to realign your behavior to reflect your innermost values. That way if your partner reads this article and asks: “May I view your texts?” Or, “What about your emails and net searches, may I see those too?” You can say with confidence and dignity: “MySpace is YourSpace!”