South Africa News

Medicare: P0rn addiction at work has increased

There is growing concern about the growth of workplace consumption of and addiction to p0rn0graphy. Its disruptive nature can impact individual workplace performance and act as a flint to nurture counter-cultural toxic behaviour. “It’s a silent, growing crisis,” said Medicare 24’s Mike van Wyk.

The company’s corporate wellness division has seen a marked increase in p0rn addiction over the past 24 months. “And it’s not limited to any strata in a business,” said Van Wyk.

“From management through to blue-collar workers, accessing inappropriate material during office hours is a major concern.”

A decade ago, only 51% of p0rn0graphy was accessed via mobile devices. Statistics suggest that today more then 80% of material is accessed via phones.

“In South Africa it is no different,” he said. “Add to that global data collected indicates that most p0rn is accessed during working hours, between nine and five.

“The repercussions of p0rn0graphy addiction in the workplace extend beyond the addiction of the individual. It ends up affecting team dynamics, employee morale and the ethical fabric of an organisation.

It’s a silent epidemic that undermines the cultural construct of a workplace environment.” Studies have shown that viewing pornography at work can lead to negative behaviours, including the objectification of co-workers, which may manifest as a hostile work environment.

Addiction to p0rn0graphy may start as a benign curiosity or individuals seeking a form of escapism during breaks, said Van Wyk. But because of its unlimited availability online, browsing could soon become a compulsion and desire to consume becomes chronic.

And while certain people have a genetic predilection to addictive behaviour, the stimulus that p0rn0graphy provides may transcend that and ensnare even the most, otherwise morally conservative, individual.

Watch the SPAR employee video here

“When individuals engage with p0rn0graphy during work hours, it not only diverts their focus from professional responsibilities but can also alter their perceptions and interactions with colleagues,” said s.e.x educator Lisa Welsh.

“This can lead to increased instances of inappropriate behaviour, including s.e.xual harassment, which disrupts the work environment and affects the well-being of all employees.”

While porn consumption was historically associated with males, said Welsh, there is evidence of a growing number of women that indulge at the workplace.

“Compulsive behaviours do not discriminate by gender,” she said. Just like any other form of addiction, individuals tend to isolate themselves from colleagues in a cycle of secrecy.

“This leads to disengagement, a distancing from colleagues and a loss of focus on the task at hand.

“The guilt associated with consuming endless amounts of p0rn0graphy at work also contributes to the vicious cycle, because many people are ashamed of their actions and that, in turn, leads to reticence to seek help,” said Welsh.

It is a slippery slope, according to Van Wyk. “Productivity is slowly eroded and an individual’s behaviour often ripples out to the rest of their team.

“It’s an inevitability that one person’s disinterest becomes infectious, for various reasons, and a significant decline in efficiency and output can be the consequence,” he said.

Strained professional relationships, communication breakdowns and disintegrating office dynamics count among the wider impact of p0rn addiction.

Welsh said a proactive and compassionate approach to addressing this issue within organisations was imperative. “Effectively combating the impact of compulsive s.e.xual behaviours in the workplace means we must go beyond surface-level solutions.

“It requires a comprehensive strategy that includes promoting s.e.xual education with positive dialogue, developing an understanding of digital wellness in theory and practice, providing support for those in need and driving a culture that prioritises mental health and ethical behaviour.”

Offering counselling, creating awareness programmes about the effects of digital content consumption, and establishing clear guidelines for ethical internet use at work are some interventions employers can implement immediately.

“It also requires on-the-ground engagement with employees and must be included in any company’s occupational health and wellness programme,” said Welsh.

Just like drug addiction, employers must understand that it is a disease, said Van Wyk. “Just because it is p0rn0graphy, it should not make a difference to the nature of the problem. Instead, [it] should be viewed as the same thing.

“Just because it features nudity and s.e.xual acts does not make it dirtier nor more destructive in an addict’s life.

“Addiction is addiction and it must be approached in the same sensitive manner that leads to constructure and positive outcomes for the addict and those around them,” he said.

In other news – Video of Boity not being noticed at the Grammy Awards leaves Mzansi in stitches

Popular Mzansi rapper, media personality, and businesswoman, Boity Thulo trended on social media on Monday, 5 February morning when her photographer struggled to take a photo of her at the Grammys.

Boity Thulo

In the video shared by a social media user, the rapper is seen bumping into Hollywood stars and appears to be apologizing while trying to take a photo. The video also shows rappers Cardi B, and Ice Spice in Thulo’s background, who is dressed in a white dress at the Grammys red carpet. Read More