When I was about twelve years old, one of my school friends read an article about a pyramid scheme that the local police were trying to warn people from joining. The next day, we set up our own pyramid scheme at school. It was small stakes, I think about $1 (60p) to join, and after about ten people joined it all fell apart and we gave everyone their money back.
The latest teen craze, apparently, is "happy slapping". It seems to have emerged in South London and involves people using a cameraphone to video record themselves (or a friend) running up to a stranger and slapping them across the face.
Gerrit Visser posted an entry a few weeks ago on SmartMobs asking "does this trend actually exist or is it the product of media hype?"
I was also beginning to wonder if happy slapping was a spoof, like toothing which, after I mentioned it an earlier entry here about online dating, a reader kindly pointed out had been entirely the creation of one man's imagination.
Unfortunately, there have been quite a few news articles about incidents of happy slapping attacks and footage has been posted to demonstrate that this form of assault and battery does in fact exist.
Today, BBC News Online has reported the first arrest of someone suspected of happy slapping - a 16 year old teenage girl in Manchester.
When I was 12, I never would have known what a pyramid scheme was had my friend not read about it in the local paper. Nowadays, misguided fads like happy slapping, which might otherwise have gone unreported outside the local area of the initial isolated incident, can spread globally. But I don't blame the internet, I blame the little sh*ts who think it's fun to film themselves victimising an innocent person for a few laughs.