“Love Island” contestants heading to the infamous Mallorca villa this winter will be banned from having active social media accounts in their absence.
ITV and Lifted Entertainment confirmed on Dec. 30 that duty of care protocols have been updated for Season 9 of the reality behemoth. As part of the new rules, to protect both the Islanders and their families from “the adverse effects of social media,” participants will be asked to pause handles and accounts on their social media platforms for the duration of their time on the show.
This means that, while contestants are in the villa, their accounts will remain dormant, and nothing will be published on their behalf. This is drastically different to past seasons where accounts have remained active, with designated family members and friends given the reins to rally behind their loved ones via their social media accounts.
While such shows of support have helped to grow contestants’ digital followings — it’s not unusual for participants to emerge from the villa to thousands of new followers — they also resulted in extensive trolling and online abuse of some players.
In addition, ITV has also said that ahead of entering the villa, Islanders will “receive guidance and training around mutually respectful behaviour in relationships.” Participants will be offered resource links to read up on, in advance of meeting their fellow Islanders, to help them identify negative behaviours in relationships and understand the behaviour patterns associated with controlling and coercive behaviour.
Following a spate of suicides by former “Love Island” contestants and host Caroline Flack, ITV ramped up its duty of care protocols for the show in recent years. Corporate medical advisers Dr. Paul Litchfield and Dr. Matthew Gould have overseen an independent and ongoing review of ITV’s duty of care measures.
Litchfield said: “The duty of care arrangements for ‘Love Island’ continue to evolve in the light of advances in scientific knowledge and awareness of the pressures young people face in establishing healthy relationships. That culture of continuous improvement ensures that Islanders are well placed to benefit from their experience of participating in one of the U.K.’s most popular TV shows.”
Gould added: “The enhanced safeguards introduced for ‘Love Island’ 2023 demonstrate ITV’s commitment to evolve duty of care protocols to minimise harm, where possible. 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. Balancing this ‘tight-rope’ requires both the identification of which safeguards have the greatest positive impact on participants’ wellbeing and the professional partnership, put in place by ITV, especially between producers and their welfare teams, and most importantly, the contributors themselves.”
A full overview of the “welfare service” offered to contestants include:
•Training on the impacts of social media and handling potential negativity
•Training on financial management
•Detailed conversations about the impact of participation on the show
•A “proactive” aftercare package that extends support to all Islanders following their participation on the show
•Guidance and advice on taking on management after the show
“Love Island” returns on ITV2 and streamer ITVX on Jan. 16.