Love Island contestants will have their social media accounts taken away for the duration of the upcoming winter season and receive “guidance and training around mutually respectful behavior in relationships” following thousands of complaints earlier this year.
For the first time in the show’s history, the ninth winter season will oblige the contestants to pause all activity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and nothing will be published on their behalf.
Ordinarily, Islanders’ accounts are overseen by friends, relatives or PR professionals during their time in the villa, in order to drum up support and build up their brand.
“The bold decision to pause Islanders’ social media activity during the new series is testament to ITV’s serious intent, especially as this input provides both a benefit to the appeal of the programme and a potential source of mental health problems,” said Dr Matthew Gould, a Psychologist who consults on the Lifted Entertainment show.
The “enhanced safeguards,” as described by Gould, also include the contestants “receiving guidance and training around mutually respectful behaviour in relationships” prior to the start of the show. They will also be offered resource links to help them identify negative behaviors in relationships and understand patterns associated with controlling and coercive behavior.
While complaints to regulator Ofcom over Love Island were markedly down this year compared to 2021, they still came in in their thousands for “alleged misogynistic and bullying behavior” directed at female contestants, while Women’s Aid contacted execs following several episodes in which issues were raised. One episode was the most-complained about of the year with 2,630 people contacting Ofcom.
All other safeguards remain in place for the ITV entertainment juggernaut including measures brought in last year that see contributors offered video training and guidance covering inclusive language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and microaggressions.
Prior to appearing on the show, prospective Islanders will also watch a video fronted by the show’s Executive Producer and Head of Welfare, interviewing former Islanders about their experiences on the show.
A string of aftercare measures see each Islander offered a minimum of eight therapy sessions upon their return home and producers contact them for 14 months after the series.
The UK TV duty of care reckoning was sparked in 2019 when a contestant who had appeared on an episode of the now-axed Jeremy Kyle Show committed suicide. Two Love Island contestants also committed suicide within two years of appearing on the show, Sophie Gradon in 2018 and Mike Thalassitis the following year.
Taking place in South Africa, the ninth season is just the second winter offering of the UK’s Love Island revival and reflects the continued success of the show. It will also be the first to be hosted by Maya Jama, who replaces Laura Whitmore.