Police issue warning over dangerous TikTok “Orbeez Challenge” trend

Police issue warning over dangerous TikTok "Orbeez Challenge" trendTikTok / Pixabay

The “Orbeez Challenge” is the latest TikTok trend that’s seeped over into real life, and police have issued a warning after two teenagers were arrested.

It seems as though there’s a new trend every week on the popular social media app for users to get involved in, whether that’s the Reading Rainbow filter or the Material Girl song.

The latest one isn’t so lighthearted though and actually poses a real danger as it blurs the line between the digital world and real life.

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Dubbed the “Orbeez Challenge”, it involves shooting the water-filled beads at random strangers. While this may sound harmless, it isn’t, and police are urging users not to take part for their own safety.

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Latest Orbeez Challenge TikTok trend is dangerous

Orbeez soared in popularity in 2020, largely due to TikTok. Users would post videos of them playing with the water-filled beads, with one even destroying his town’s sewer system with them.

Fast forward to 2022 and they’re back, but not quite as you’d expect. People are now shooting them at unsuspecting bystanders using airsoft guns – something which is not only dangerous for the victim but for the prankster themselves.

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“Once again we find ourselves dealing with a dangerous trend on social media that has influenced our young people to make dangerous choices that can have lifetime consequences,” Chief of Police Issa Shahin said in a statement after a teenager was arrested over the challenge in Dearborn, Michigan. “The Dearborn Police Department will have a zero-tolerance approach to activities such as this that pose danger to the public.”

photo of orbeezFlickr: Paul Gorbould
The beads are activated using water.

Four more teenagers were arrested and charged with aggravated assault in Yuma, Arizona on March 20 after they injured a pedestrian with a bead in a drive-by Orbeez shooting.

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“While Orbeez are soft to the touch, they can lead to injury and even break the skin when shot from an air-powered gun,” Yuma police said.

“We are asking parents to discuss the dangers of this challenge with their kids.”

Not only does shooting them carry the risk of permanently injuring someone, but using a fake gun could spell fatal trouble for its wielder if mistaken for the real thing.

As with other TikTok trends, police are hoping it blows over within the coming days, replaced with something less dangerous and that can be done at home.

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