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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
MP wants 'happy slapping' action
Slapping attack on mobile phone
The crime phenomenon originated in south London
Technology which could prevent mobile phones being used in schools should be employed to crack down on the "happy slapping" phenomenon, an MP has said.

West Bromwich West MP Adrian Bailey said he was concerned by what he called the "terrifying new form of bullying".

He wants the government and phone firms to fund research that could lead to new mobiles being fitted with devices which could block their use in certain areas.

The term happy slapping describes an attack captured on video mobile phone.

The escalation of the use of mobile phones at school is clearly making lives a misery for some children
Adrian Bailey

The Labour backbencher is urging the government to take immediate action before someone is seriously injured or killed.

He called on ministers and mobile phone companies to fund technology like that already being used in the United States to block phone use in certain places, including hospitals and schools.

Mr Bailey said: "Like most people, I was appalled by the reports of this vicious new craze adopted by some bullies against vulnerable children.

"The escalation of the use of mobile phones at school is clearly making lives a misery for some children.

'Alarming violence'

"Violent bullies are using the new video and camera phones to add to the humiliation of being attacked for some children."

Mr Bailey has tabled written questions to Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, asking her to consult with anti-bullying and children's charities.

"We cannot allow alarming violence of this kind to escalate," Mr Bailey added.

"If new technology is a possible answer, we must look into every avenue possible to protect children from harm."

The phenomenon was first reported in south London about six months ago, and similar incidents have been reported across the country.

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