The UK’s most popular dating show, Love Island, has returned to our screens for a winter edition.
This year’s series introduces a fresh batch of contestants and a new host in the form of radio DJ and TV personality Maya Jama. The show also returns to its South Africa villa for the first time since 2020.
But, for the ninth series, there are a host of major rule changes in place to help protect those involved and ITV have informed all contestants to keep their accounts dormant during the filming of the show.
But why have ITV implemented these changes and how have former islanders reacted to the move? Here is everything you need to know.
Why have Love Island contestants been banned from posting on social media?
Love Island attracts wide scale attention on social media and with the contestants shut off inside the villa it’s usually left to friends and family members to run their accounts.
Often family members of the contestants have been subjected to extreme forms of online trolling and abuse while managing accounts and a number of relatives have posted pleas for viewers to be kinder.
ITV is aiming to change that whilst also making efforts to provide additional support for contestants and their loved ones.
Announcing the new measure ITV said: “Contestants will be asked to pause handles and accounts on their social media platforms for the duration of their time on the show to protect both the islanders and their families from the adverse effects of social media.”
As a result of the change all the accounts of the contestants will remain dormant.
What other measures have been introduced?
ITV has also announced that all contestants are given guidance and training on “mutually respectful behaviour in relationships” as well as resource links to help them “identify negative behaviours in relationships.”
Since 2019, following the deaths of Mike Thalasstis and Sophie Gradon - bosses also offer all contestants a minimum of eight therapy sessions to help them after their time on the show.
What has been said about the new Love Island rules?
Psychologist Jo Hemmings, who has worked behind the scenes for a variety of TV shows, has praised the move. Hemmings said: “I think the protocols, particularly the one about pausing the social media accounts, will certainly help the families or people managing those accounts.”
Paige Turley who won the first winter Love Island series in 2020 also praised the decision and claims it will give the families of contestants an easier journey. Turley said: “Islanders in the villa don’t see people’s reactions to each episode. And a lot of family and friends have their own full time job, so social media in itself is a full-time job.
“So having to keep up with posting and the reactions of the outside world, it was more of an emotional rollercoaster for them really. If anything, it’s going to give the family and friends a bit of an easier journey.