'Orbeez Challenge': Tri-State police, schools say viral TikTok trend could have legal consequences

Orbeez seeds
Posted at 12:15 AM, Mar 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-19 00:16:10-04

MASON, Ohio — While the gun might not be real, the consequences are. Officials in Mason are hoping to put an end to a trend encouraging teens to shoot toy guns loaded with water beads.

The 'Orbeez Challenge' is the latest trend to gain traction on TikTok. While those participating are using toy guys, police say shooting at someone or into a vehicle or home is a criminal act.

On March 14, Mason City Schools said teens targeted a middle school bus.

"One of our Mason bus drivers had what they thought was a person drive up with a firearm and point the gun and shoot the gun at their bus," said Tracy Carson, public information officer with Mason City Schools.

A 16- and 17-year-old were arrested and charged with inducing pain. The teens are not Mason City Schools students, but Carson said the toys have popped up on some of their campuses.

"Many of them are brightly colored and look like maybe something that we would say as a toy, but there are ones that don't and the truth is, in a school, we don't have the luxury of trying to determine if this is a toy or gun," Carson said. "We need everybody to know, if you bring even a toy gun — particularly this new style — and you're gone on any of our school property or any school event, you're going to be facing some significant school and potentially legal consequences."

The Village of Lockland has also banned the toys and all local toy guns from its parks, stating on Facebook that "although these guns are not considered a lethal weapon, they may cause harm or serious injury."

Mason mom Kelly Schoultz said it's important parents talk with their children about the dangers of social media trends.

"We didn't have TikTok when we were kids, so this is a very new area for them to be reacting to," Schoultz said. "So it's our job as adults in the community to kind of help them learn through that and what to do and what's not OK."

Spin Master, the manufacturer of Orbeez, is advertising an Orbeez Challenge Activity Kit "inspired by TikTok's #OrbeezChallenge." While the description says "there's no limit to the ways you can play," there is no mention of children shooting Orbeez from toy guns.

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