Problem: Youths glued to their phones

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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Foma’i Matale, 61, from the village of Satuiatua, Savaii.

Foma’i Matale, 61, from the village of Satuiatua, Savaii.

With technology moving at such a fast pace and the attention of many young people focused on their devices, it leaves less room to realize what is important around them, their family.

That is according to Foma’i Matale from the village of Satuiatua, Savaii, who expressed his concern to the Village Voice team yesterday.

Aged 61, Mr. Matale was spotted at the Mulifanua Wharf making his way back to Savaii. He explains that with technology moving so fast in the world, it leaves the little island of Samoa with many problems.

“When I look around Samoa I notice a big difference in how people are living in this day and age,” he said.

“I feel that the world is just moving too fast and it is causing some real problems for the people living in this country. The real issue right now is technology.

“We see new technology like phones coming out every year with new features. My church had a talk recently about this because we want to protect our youth from being drawn in by the negative effects of technology.”

Asked what was so wrong about technology, Mr. Matale says that the young people spend all of their time on their phones and it has become their whole existence.

He adds that many become depressed when messages from partners or social media posts become unfavorable and it may even lead to people taking their lives.

“An example of this would be how the young people are being heavily influenced by social media through their phone,” he said.

“A young member of my family committed suicide due to relationship problems and a lot of his sadness was due to whatever was going on in his phone; messages and what not.

“We spoke about it just last Sunday at church and I agree that we need to set boundaries for our children.”

Furthermore, according to Mr. Matale, phones nowadays act as a sort of barrier between the young people using them and family members at home trying to reach out to them.

“Another problem which is common within so many families in Samoa is the attention of the youth being solely on their phones,” he said.

“It’s as if their lives revolve around those devices. They have their faces buried in their phone screens and they don’t notice what’s going on around them.

“Even when it comes to answering their parents when they call out to them at home, their complete attention is on their phones.”

Asked for a solution, Mr. Matale says that awareness of the risks of technology and how to properly deal with unfavorable messages or posts would help a lot.

Another solution would also be to set boundaries for children regarding their phones and limitations on its use.

“I feel that the only solution to deal with the fast pace of technology would be to set boundaries,” he said.

“I mean, even children as young as three years old are seen playing around with different devices and I find that ridiculous.

“We need to educate our children to set their priorities right. They need to spend less time with their phones and more time with their family because that’s more important.”

Furthermore, Mr. Matale feels that the young people are exposed to too many things with the help of technology, both the bad and the good. He also explained that if nothing is done about these issues, Samoa would end up in more off a mess than it already is.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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