The Prime Minister is refusing to allow parents to abdicate their responsibilities when it comes to problems with their children.
“Technology and phones are hurting our children - but the real culprit is bad parenting,” he said
“It is dangerous especially in the hands of our children.”
As a parent himself, Tuilaepa thinks that parents need to do their job by making sure their children are not addicted to their phones.
“The truth is, there is a big problem regarding the negligence of the parents, when it comes to technology,” said Tuilaepa.
“Children should never be given cell phones.”
He made the comments during his weekly press conference.
“But maybe because we have money nowadays, and most parents can afford to buy phones for their children,” children can just walk up to their parents and ask them to buy a phone so they can communicate, and they will just give it to them.
“And you know what happen next?
“If you have a son, he will use that phone to call his girlfriend, or if you have a daughter, she will use that phone to call her boyfriend.
“Some children don’t even study at night, they just go into their rooms, then talk to their boyfriends and girlfriends, but they are only 13 and 14 years old. Parents are not being alert and they are not aware of this, he said.
He went on to say that using cell phones have resulted in a lot of drama and crime within communities.
“An old man can now talk to a young girl over the phone, lure her out and then take her somewhere else, only to find out later that the girl is almost the same age as his daughter.”
“Moreover, we’ve had cases as well where men are calling other men’s wives. Those are all the bad things we can get if people don’t use technology wisely.
“It’s dangerous, especially when it’s in the hands of our children.”
According to Tuilaepa, the impacts of technology should never be blamed on technology itself; rather it is the negligence of the parents.
“The thing is you can never convince a foolish father or parent about the impact of these things if they aren’t being vigilant.
“For most of them, they wait until something bad happens to their daughter or son, then they will do something about it.”
These problems are happening around the world, and Samoa is no exception, Tuilaepa said.
“This is the responsibility of the parents. They are the first teachers and the first ones to teach their children the right way to live life.
“They lay out the foundations for the children. And if the foundation is not solid and well-built, it can be destroyed easily.”
Tuilaepa said it’s time for people to stop pointing fingers at the Ministry of Police and government whenever there are issues involving youths and children in Samoa.
“Sometimes, they point fingers at police officers and question their work, but the truth is, there is always a right time for police to step in and try and solve some issues when they get really complicated.
“But preventing the matter before it happens, is in the hands of the parents. Government and police don’t have to do everything in this country.
“I’ve noticed that whenever there is a problem involving our children, they quickly question the duties of the Ministry of Police.
But the first question they should ask is, “Where are the parents?”