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).
Filming attacks seems to be common in modern bullying, and not unique to happy slapping. The core defining feature of happy slapping is an effort by the attacker to make the assault seem like a comical surprise at the victim's expense.
When the "happy slapping" craze first started, it was seen amongst youngsters as harmless fun. Despite the increased level of violence, this perception sometimes persists. Often those found performing such activities will say they were just "happy slapping", asserting their belief that no significant harm was caused to the victim- often contradicting empirical evidence- with the stated premise typically being that the violence had been a form of practical joke on the assailed.
Promotion in Popular TV
It is a mistake to see the phenomenon of happy slapping as purely an effect of availability of video cameras. Popular culture, including advertising has presented it as a role model. In the award winning "You've been Tango'd" advert a youth is shown being slapped on the face by a jolly orange creature, and it is presented as humorous fun.
A surgeon who had done one too many operations to fix broken jaws of children who had been 'tangoed' wrote to the advertisers behind the "You've been Tango'd" ad and got them to change the 'slap' to a kiss.
Happy slapping can be understood to be more than mere slapping, and may include punching or even actual bodily harm. Sometimes the assault is performed with other crimes, such as mugging, and can lead to manslaughter. This escalation can be further evidenced through new unhealthy, deadly ways as shown in this photo: http://www.nolubida.com/happyslappinglogohp.jpg.
Use with video technology
Although the concept of filming a crime is an old one, the ease and general availability of video cameras in mobile phones means that such attacks need not be planned carefully beforehand and are more easily watched and circulated for comedy purposes afterwards.
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- Much of the initial content of this page came from the similarly named Wikipedia page.
- Akwagyiram, Alexis (2005-05-12). "Does 'happy slapping' exist?". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4539913.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
- 1994 Video of slap-happy advert "You Know when You've been Tangoed. UK. HHCL Ad agency. (http://www.adslogans.co.uk/hof/IE006910.html)
- 100 Greatest Adverts, TV Program, ITV, UK.
- "'Happy slap' youths admit killing". BBC News. 2010-06-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/10331547.stm.