Saturday, April 30, 2005

As technology advances.....

AUTHORITIES are concerned about a sick new trend called "happy slapping", where young people slap or hit unsuspecting victims while recording the attacks with camera phones.They then send footage of the victim's pain and shock to the phones of friends or post it on the internet.
The craze originated in England, where it has become a nuisance.
Happy slappers in Britain approach commuters on trains and slap or bash them while friends film the attack with their phones.
The footage is then distributed as entertainment.
Last month several students used their camera phones to record a kicking attack on a Year 11 Balwyn High student in Melbourne.
"It was humiliating. They were filming it like it was some sort of trophy," the teenage victim said.
The victim's mother said learning that students were making a record of her son's attack made her feel sick.
With more than half of all secondary school students owning a phone, and a majority of all handsets now containing a camera, there are fears happy slapping in Victoria may only be in its infancy.
A growing number of websites - often referred to as "Slap Happy TV" - display phone footage of happy-slap assaults.
Victims are not always young or male.
A file from overseas called "B*tch Slap" shows a youth approaching a woman at a bus stop and punching her in the face. Another called "Bank Job" shows a youth attacking a man at an ATM and taking his money.
While many young web users condemn happy slapping, others regard it as a source of entertainment or black humour.
Andrew Blair, president of the state's Secondary Principals Association, said it was unlikely the Balwyn assault was an isolated incident.
"If there's a technology in place that increases the likelihood of bullying then that is a disturbing and worrying development and one that we need to be aware of," he said.
"I would just be saying to schools, 'This is really a matter of putting in place stricter controls on phones and recording devices'."
One network provides third generation - or 3G - coverage in Australia, which enables mobile phone users to send each other video files.
Video sharing is set to explode in Australia in the coming months as other phone companies also launch 3G networks.
Most Victorian schools have a ban on phone use during school hours.
Mr Blair said he would prefer it if students did not bring mobiles to school at all. "There aren't that many instances where students are required to have a mobile phone," he said.
Parents Victoria president Gail McHardy said she was shocked by happy slapping and people tended to push the boundaries with technology.
"Here we are trying to educate our young people that this kind of thing is unacceptable and something like this comes along," she said. "It's a fad, it's a trend and I just wish it would go away."

I can see incedents such as these ending up in court. Legislation needs to be chaned quick smart so those who do commit acts such as this....i'd go as far as charging them with depravation of liberties, can be charged as such.


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