Alex Green, PA Acting Deputy Entertainment Editor
Love Island contestants will have to disable their social media accounts during the upcoming winter series to protect both them and their families, ITV has announced.
For the first time, the broadcaster will ask islanders to make their accounts “dormant” while they are in the villa so nothing can be published on their behalf and they avoid “the adverse effects of social media”.
Contestants will also receive “guidance and training” around “mutually respectful behaviour in relationships” after the most recent series prompted thousands of complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.
Many of the complaints related to “alleged misogynistic and bullying behaviour” although they were not upheld.
Islanders will be offered resource links to read before meeting the other contestants to help them “identify negative behaviours in relationships” and “understand the behaviour patterns associated with controlling and coercive behaviour”.
The new measures have been introduced as part of ITV’s duty of care measures for 2023.
Islanders will continue to be offered “inclusive language” training covering disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and microaggressions, introduced in May this year.
The conversations will again be chaired by the Black Collective of Media in Sport (Bcoms) founder Leon Mann MBE and others.
Before entering the show, prospective contestants will also again watch a video fronted by the show’s executive producer and head of welfare interviewing former islanders about their experiences on the show.
It includes details on the two-week period before they enter the villa, how to cope being filmed 24 hours a day and dealing with social media trolling.
Dr Paul Litchfield, part of the duty of care team, 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 UK’s most popular TV shows.”
Dr Matthew Gould, a consultant chartered clinical psychologist who is also part of the duty of care team, said “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.”
In 2019, the Jeremy Kyle Show was axed from ITV’s schedules amid growing scrutiny of the duty of care that reality TV shows have to participants following the death of a contestant.
Love Island also faced criticism following the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.