Police across Central Texas warn parents about dangerous new TikTok challenge
TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Police across Central Texas are warning of a new TikTok trend that teens are participating in.
The so-called “Orbeez Challenge” involves teens using airsoft-type pistols to do drive-by style shootings with airsoft pellets or water iced pellets namely from the brand Orbeez.
The teens record their “drive by” and post a video of it on TikTok with the hopes of getting likes.
Social media trends like this seem to be popping up more frequently lately and experts say part of it is a psychological impact of the pandemic.
“We’ve had such issues with kids feeling social isolation during the pandemic,” said Amy Mersiovsky, a pediatric nurse of 24-years and the director and chair for the Department of Nursing at Texas A&M Central Texas.
“Social isolation has just exploded, and social media has been one of the ways that the kids have been combatting that. They’re getting that attention. They’re getting that belong that they may not be feeling otherwise,” Mersiovsky said.
Meanwhile, police say it’s important for children, teens, and their parents to understand the consequences of participating in this dangerous challenge, especially, if they injure someone.
“They could face criminal charges such as assault and they or their family members can face civil penalties if an injured person were to sue them,” said Allen Teston, a chief deputy at the Temple Police Department.
Police warn that kids could put themselves in danger, too, by using toy weapons that police say often look very realistic.
“It could result in either police officers or citizens protecting themselves against what they think is lethal force being used against them and engage them and result in significant injuries or death,” Teston said.
Coppers Cove Police, Marlin Police and Temple Police have all issued warnings about the trend but no Central Texas police departments has reported instances of the Orbeez challenge happening locally.
Police, however, are urging parents to be proactive in talking to their kids and monitoring their social media.
Experts like Mersiovsky also say it’s a good idea for parents to help kids get involved in groups like sports teams to feel a sense of belonging in real life instead of seeking it on social media.
Police in Florida and Georgia are reporting the dangerous social media trend has already injured several people.
Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.