The proliferation of the internet in business is cause for concern for employers - although many will not address the issue until it's out of hand.
Employers want and need their employees full attention during the workday, and if an employee is online shopping, or surfing, or doing anything unrelated to business, productivity drains. If other employees notice a 'surfer', then morale issues arise. Because what you allow, you encourage.
Without a written policy regarding internet usage in advance, it's very difficult to enforce your desires as a manager.
A policy should be very simple - internet and e-mail are for business use only. And a business owner can be held responsible for the actions of their employees while using business-sponsored internet and e-mail (think sexual harassment, for example).
The major uses of internet at work are personal, not business. (The number one use of the internet at work? Looking for another job!)
Like all HR issues, the goal is to prevent issues from happening, and not waiting for the issue to get out of control.
Courtesy of the Cincinnati Post via Joyce M. Rosenberg of the Associated Press.