There’s a Major Change Coming to UK Season 9

When Love Island UK returns for its ninth season, its cast of potential lovebirds won’t have a very important tool at their disposal. Find out why the show has instituted a major shake-up.

Watch: Love Island U.K. Host Laura Whitmore EXITS After 3 Seasons

Love Island is going offline.

For the first time in franchise history, the contestants on the upcoming ninth season of Love Island UK will not have access to their social media accounts while participating on the show, Deadline reports.

In past seasons, the show’s cast members had friends, family members or even full-on PR teams take over their accounts in an attempt to gain support during their time in the villa. But the new safeguards were put in place for the benefit of the contestants themselves.

“The bold decision to pause Islanders’ social media activity during the new series is testament to ITV’s serious intent,” psychologist Dr. Matthew Gould, who consults on the show, said in a statement to Deadline, “especially as this input provides both a benefit to the appeal of the programme and a potential source of mental health problems.”

Gould also said Love Island cast members will receive “guidance and training around mutually respectful behaviour in relationships” prior to arriving at the villa and all contestants will be offered a minimum of eight therapy sessions when they return home.

In recent seasons, Love Island has come under fire from viewers for the increasingly negative behavior depicted on the show.

Take, for example, the show’s eighth season, which premiered in June 2021, received 781 viewer complaints in just its first month on the air.

According to media regulator Ofcom, “Viewers were concerned about bullying on the show, contestants’ well-being and mental health, certain contestants getting more screen time than others and the age gap between contestants on the dating show.”

In particular, 19-year-old Gemma Owen was paired with 27-year-old Davide Sanclimenti on season eight, with the eight-year age gap causing offense to some viewers.

English TV presenter Maya Jama takes over Love Island UK hosting duties from Laura Whitmore, who hosted the past three seasons and announced her departure in August, when the show returns for season nine—this time, without social media—Jan. 16, 2023 on the U.K.’s ITV2.

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