Love Island to ask contestants to stop social media for their own protection

Islanders will have to suspend accounts while in villa, as part of ITV show’s duty of care overhaul

Love Island contestants will have to suspend their social media accounts during the next series to protect them from the “adverse effects of social media”.

ITV will ask the islanders to make their accounts “dormant” while they are in the villa so nothing can be published on their behalf, as part of an overhaul of measures to discharge the duty of care to contestants.

They will also receive guidance and training around “mutually respectful behaviour in relationships” after the most recent series prompted thousands of complaints to the broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom.

Many of the complaints related to “alleged misogynistic and bullying behaviour”, although they were not upheld.

Islanders will be provided with resources 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.

Contestants will continue to be offered “inclusive language” training, introduced in May, covering disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and microaggressions.

The conversations will again be chaired by Leon Mann, the founder of the Black Collective of Media in Sport.

Before entering the show, contestants will again watch a video presented by the show’s executive producer and head of welfare, who interviews former islanders about their experiences.

The video includes details on the two-week period before participants enter the villa, as well as advice on how to cope with 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 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.”

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, after the death of a contestant.

Love Island also faced criticism after the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.


Jamie Grierson

The GuardianTramp

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