The effects of a "happy slapping" epidemic: European governments crack down on the recording and distribution of violence online

Several years ago, the United Kingdom noticed a disturbing pastime among a segment of its youths – “happy slapping”. Individuals or groups found amusing the slapping or striking of strangers while accomplices filmed the assaults using mobile phones. The images were later showcased on the Internet. In recent years, the “happy slapping” virus has spread into France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, among other European countries. And governments have had enough of this cruel and sometimes lethal form of entertainment.

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