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Relatives of Love Island contestants will be sent to ‘Instagram safety school’ to learn how to deal with online abuse
The families of this year’s Love Island contestants will be sent to an ‘Instagram safety school’ to learn how to cope with online abuse. It comes after ITV2 bosses were criticised for not looking after participants who suddenly have to deal with the dark side of fame when they appear on the reality show.
A source said: ‘There is so much trolling that goes on while the show is on and that can be difficult for people who have had no experience of being in the limelight to have to deal with.
‘So an Instagram school has been set up for those running the accounts of contestants, usually family members or close friends, so they can be taught techniques of how to deal with the abuse and also the reporting of it. They will be schooled in all things social media
‘It is part of ensuring the safety around the programme, which has come under mass scrutiny in the past years.’
Contestants on this year’s show – which offers a prize of £50,000 for the winning couple – will also hear from former Islanders and complete ‘inclusion training’ before taking part. Guidance will cover language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity as well as ‘microaggressions’
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Contestants will also be given psychological support, ITV have confirmed, as well as training in how to manage the money they earn from appearing on the show and any endorsement deals they are offered afterwards.
The package of measures comes after two former competitors, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis – as well as former host Caroline Flack – took their own lives.
The deaths, plus the suicide of a guest on the Jeremy Kyle Show, put broadcasters’ duty of care to those who appear on their programmes in the spotlight.
‘Instagram safety school’ will teach relatives of the Love Island contestants how to handle trolls and online abuse
Television regulator Ofcom subsequently strengthened its general duty of care advice.
Dr Paul Litchfield, who helped develop the Love Island procedures, said: ‘The importance of promoting good mental health and avoiding psychological harm is now well understood. Being thrust into the glare of intense public scrutiny can be daunting and providing effective support to people living through that experience is critical.’
The eighth series of Love Island launches next month.