Robert Kleisinger Interview
We talk a lot about safety for our users, and to them. Sometimes we have to work to drive home the reasons we need to keep their personal information private, why we can’t let them give out their contact information and why we monitor their chats.
So here is a story we heard about and we were lucky enough to interview the man who not only saved his teenaged daughter from being victimized by a cyber predator but saved countless others. This is an article from the National Post, who interviewed Robert about the experience:
“Postmedia News September 22, 2011 – 5:06 PM ET
By Rochelle Baker
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — A father who posed as a 15-year-old girl online to snare the man sexually luring his teenage daughter received an Abbotsford Police Board commendation on Tuesday.
Robert Kleisinger contacted police in the spring of 2009 after noticing a 33-year-old adult male was conducting inappropriate chats with his 15-year-old daughter.
Kleisinger installed Internet monitoring software to his computer, and resulting information led to charges against Jason “Booda” Reise, also wanted in the U.S. for violating parole after a property crime conviction.
The concerned dad continued to monitor Reise’s Internet presence after the charges were laid and noticed the offender was still posting to online social networking sites, a violation of his bail conditions.
Posing as a 15-year-old girl, Kleisinger set up a dummy Facebook account in October 2010.
He ‘friended’ some of Reise’s acquaintances and soon after, the online predator — prohibited from using the Internet or communicating with minors — made contact.
After several online conversations, Reise made plans to meet his new online ‘friend’ and to go buy drugs with her.
During the entire online sting, Kleisinger kept records and maintained contact with Abbotsford Police. All the effort paid off after Reise was arrested again, had his bail revoked and was returned to jail until his trial.
The sex offender pleaded guilty to luring a child via computer and invitation to sexual touching in April 2011. He was released from jail soon after his plea as a result of receiving double credit for six months time served.
But within days, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) handed him over to U.S. authorities.
Reise, a landed immigrant in Canada, is banned from re-entering the country following his deportation, now that he has served six-months behind bars.
Abbotsford Mayor George Peary commended Kleisinger for his actions while handing him the award.
“Your actions were paramount in ridding Abbotsford of a convicted sex offender,” said Peary. “The city and Abbotsford Police Department are grateful for your efforts in nailing this guy. Good job. Well done.”
This story could have ended much differently, so we asked Robert the three questions we thought would be most beneficial to parents, guardians and teachers.
KW: What advice would you give parents trying to speak to their kids about online safety?
Robert: I believe the first line of defense starts at home, with the parents. Its important though for the parents to understand that the online world for many kids out there is more than just a means of communication, for many it’s a lifeline. The internet today is what a phone was 20 years ago. As a parent myself I would tell other parents to be open with their children, not judgmental and not to be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be looking over their shoulder all the time but still take the odd glance, unless something concerns you. Remember that it’s a fine line between getting your kids to talk about things and for them to hide things.
KW: What role do you think formal education can play in preparing kids for some of the dangers that exist online?
Robert: I don’t know if per se a "course" in the school system would be the best answer but I do support the schools educating kids in learning what some of the dangers are, how to spot potential predators and definitely how to be able to report concerns be it about themselves or others. Schools are a great second line of defense and in many cases where parents themselves don’t understand the internet it could prove vital in teaching kids.
KW: Do you think parents need to impose limits on social media usage and/or monitor their children's activity?
Robert: I think the need for a limit has to be on a kid-by-kid basis. For those kids that show responsibility and maturity they would need less limits and so forth. The limits I believe parents need to impose on any home computer be it the home computer or a child’s own computer is with the user rights and administrative side of things. I have seen and heard too often that the kids are the ones with the administrative account and the parents have user accounts. Parents need to be the sole administrator on any computer.
I think that monitoring their usage is okay as to how much they actually use it but the need for parents to actually monitor a child's online activities should only be when a concern arises and be strictly limited to the concern and not anything else. You need to remember that if you say were to start reading all your child's conversations you may read many things that you yourself once said to your friends about your parents. Don’t forget they need to be able to vent too.
There are lots of resources out there to help maneuver the murky waters of online and kids, but we found Robert’s story and his insight very helpful and hopefully you will too.