<ul><li>“ Happy slapping is a fad in which someone assaults an unwitting victim while others record the assault (commonly with a camera phone or a smartphone ). Though the name usually refers to relatively minor acts of violence such as hitting or slapping the victim, more serious crimes such as murder, rape, and sexual assault have been classified as "happy slapping" by the media . ” _ Wikipedia </li></ul>
Links with the Internet Happy Slapping is widely associated with the Internet, as once the incident has been filmed on a camera or mobile phone, many chose to upload the footage on to various social networking sites. MP Sian James said that Social Networking sites have a ‘darker side’, and they must do more to stop bullying and so-called ‘happy slapping’ videos being published. Dr Graham Barnfield told Tonight with Trevor McDonald that Happy Slapping is seen by the ‘slappers’ as a short cut to “fame and notoriety among the people who see the images circulated on the web or sent to them via their mobile phones.”
Age and Gender The craze of Happy Slapping has been widely linked to teenagers, with most cases seeing teenagers as the majority of attackers, as well as victims. Although there appears to be consecutive cases with teenagers involved, there is no real significance where Gender is concerned. Looking at various cases, both genders are found as victims and attackers, almost equally.
The Effects The effects of this crime are quite obvious. Victims can be damaged mentally and physically, just as most types of bullying. However Happy Slapping is different to ordinary bullying, as the victim, (usually a child or student) can not escape once out of school or when at home. This is due to the videos circulating around social networking sites. Effects can also lead to serious consequences for the assailant. Shown in this case found on www.bbc.co.uk “A 15 year old girl who chose to film the horrific footage and published it on the internet, was sentenced to 2 years detention in a Young Offenders institution when she appeared at Leeds Crown Court.” Also found from the same source, the CPS stated, “If you stand by and watch your friends committing brutal crimes…your actions will not be ignored…and prosecution may follow”.
Real Example X Factor finalist Emily Nakanda has withdrawn from the show after a video emerged showing her allegedly attacking a teenage girl. Another video emerged earlier this week on YouTube showing Emily and a group of friends laughing and threatening a teenager, while one of the group held what appeared to be a weapon. It is believed the videos were filmed before Emily entered The X Factor and have since been removed from the website. In 2007 An 18-year-old boy, was allegedly punched so hard, he reeled backwards, hitting his head on the floor and died a week later. Images of the attack, as well as 14 others, were found on the bullies' cell phones. The attackers were prosecuted
Regulating and Control In order to combat this issue, many schools are banning the use of cell phones, camera phones or YouTube-style video websites. Some countries are also taking a tough stance when it comes to this type of cyber bullying. Victoria, Australia , has banned the YouTube website from 1600 government schools, after a violent attack on a 17-year-old girl was reportedly uploaded to YouTube. Government Concern Happy Slapping was discussed at Business Questions in the Commons, when Mr Wright called for a ‘debate’ on Youtube. He stated, “I am concerned that acts of violence and instances of Happy Slapping recorded on mobile phones are transferred to the web for wider consumption.” These crimes were discussed at the Violent Crimes Reduction Bill. New Zealand recently installed filters in 2300 schools to prevent access to social networking sites after school fights appeared online, with the same happening in many UK schools. France recently made it a crime for anyone, other than journalists, to film real world violence and distribute it online. Violators are subject to stiff penalties, including prison time and large fines.
Regulation Through looking at our research it is obvious to see that control and regulation has been attempted by various bodies. Although our research does not show the regulation or control was successful, as ‘Happy Slapping’ can be seen as just a phase, which may explain the reduction in incidents in recent years.