Romelu Lukaku has backed a grassroots campaign to save lives through helping young footballers fight social media cyber bullying and called on footballers and CEOs to hold a meeting to discuss the topic.
“[There are] many young boys that are bullied by this,” Lukaku, a Belgium international, said of social media. “[They are] asked not to see their friends, [located] far away. We have to help them. We need to do more to help these children.”
Lukaku, who signed a five-year contract with Manchester United in February, was speaking at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Hertfordshire on Sunday when he was asked for his opinion on the subject.
Alessia Romanelli (@AllTNPonline) @RomeuLukaku9 @ManUtd speaks on social media and names those his age who are being bullied. The world needs to hear it. #AHPS18
“Social media and all these different things, we need to learn how to use it in the right way,” he said. “People have the right to talk to their friends. I want people to understand the situation we are in and I think this is why we need to help these kids. These social media managers, we should have a meeting with these football players and everyone to talk about what we should do. Because these kids need us.”
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The call for an approach to the digital age comes after a report in the New York Times claimed that 28 children in the UK had committed suicide after being bullied on social media.
According to the newspaper’s team of journalists, the suicide rate rose by 29% in the UK for children aged 10 to 16 over the past five years. It said it had analysed official government data and interviews with relatives and friends of the deceased as well as with researchers and experts.
Lukaku was also quick to praise the work of the All Tomorrow’s Parties, who run events across Britain that celebrate the mystical, mental and musical aspects of music.
The football star said: “I’m very happy because I’m here with my family to celebrate this event. I love it. I love the music, this is why I came here. This is why I am now a footballer because I like music and I like watching live music. I wish I can go and sing this music because that’s my passion. I love it.”