Love Island contestants will be restricted from accessing their social media accounts this winter season.
The upcoming change is being made in an effort to protect the contestants from the “adverse effects of social media”.
According to The Guardian, it comes in response to the latest season’s drama, which resulted in viewers bombarding Ofcom with thousands of complaints.
Typically, contestants’ accounts are managed by friends, relatives or PR teams in order to increase support and expand their brand while they’re away at the villa.
However, for the first time ever, contestants will be asked that nothing be posted to their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts on their behalf for the duration of season nine.
Instead, they will receive “guidance and training around mutually respectful behaviour in relationships”.
“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 hired as a consultant for the show.
Last season’s “Mad Movies” episodes left viewers upset, with many expressing their anger online at Lucas’s “misogynistic” behaviour.
Afterwards, his family issued an apology on his Instagram account on his behalf.
As a result of these episodes, Women’s Aid confirmed that they were in talks with the show’s producers on how to address “controlling and misogynistic” behaviour on display.
The new season will maintain other aftercare safeguards, including Islanders offered a minimum of eight therapy sessions once they return home. They will also remain in contact with producers for 14 months after the series finale.
ITV’s duty of care has faced a reckoning after former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis died by suicide in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In 2020, former Love Island host Caroline Flack also died by suicide. An investigation into her death later found that she had struggled with mental health and having her assault case “played out in the national press… was incredibly difficult for her”.
Season nine of Love Island is set to premiere on ITV2, 16 January 2023.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
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