Orbeez Gel Gun Social Media Challenge: What Parents Need to Know

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April 6, 2022

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Table of Contents

Parent & educator training video

What is the Orbeez Gel Gun Challenge?

  • The challenge started on TikTok with the hashtag #orbeezchallenge
  • Participants fill an airsoft gun (a replica toy gun) or a gel blaster "Splat R Ball" toy gun with gel balls like Orbeeze or water beads
  • ~Some participants freeze the gel beads making them harder when they hit a person or object
  • After filling their toy with the gel beads, participants record themselves shooting at people or objects to see what harm they can cause to other people or property
  • Some popular media sources have tried to disprove that this is a social media challenge, however the hashtag and videos of participants using Orbeeze in their toy guns exist and encourage others to share their own videos doing the same

Orbeez dangers in the news from around the country

Multiple juveniles charged after participating in TikTok challenge, officials say
The victim was shot in the forehead and chest. A 17-year-old was identified and charged with assault, Glenn said. As a result, the juvenile was sent through the Knox County Juvenile Court Pretrial Diversion program. They were also required to pay court costs and medical expenses and complete 32 hours of community services.
When you take a gun, even if it’s a toy gun, and point it at someone and shoot a projectile at them if that projectile injures them or hurts them and causes physical pain, that is an assault. You never know if the person you’re shooting at could have a real gun and turn that real gun on you once you shoot that real gun first. So that would be significantly worse than a criminal charge. (You) actually ending up dead because someone is shooting back at you.

WVLT 8 Knoxville

Orbeez gel bead shooters terrorizing, injuring Dearborn residents, police say
"Dearborn, this is not a joke," Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin said in a video posted earlier this week to Facebook. "I promise, if you do this in the city you are going to get caught and there will be severe consequences."

Detroit Free Press

'This is not a kid's game': Polk County sheriff warns 'Orbeez Challenge' has dire consequences
This is not a kid’s game...It is a second-degree felony to shoot somebody with a projectile at a very minimum.

Fox 13 Tampa Bay

'These can be really dangerous' Dangerous 'Orbeez Challenge' hits San Diego County
Chula Vista Police say that they've had dozens of these incidents reported in the area alone. A lot of these kids think it's just a prank but what they don't know is that they could get charged with a felony and end up doing jail time.

CBS8

Gilbert teen shot with splatter gun; incident possibly related to TikTok challenge
They're very dangerous. They can shoot the balls up to 50 miles per hour, leave welts, and they're very powerful...They rolled down their window, just did a smirky smile, and waved.

Fox 10 Phoenix

Why should parents & educators care?

Example of gel ball hits on a man's face
  • Shooting anything from an airsoft or gel blaster toy gun could cause damage to property or harm another person
  • With the increase in these toys due to the social media challenge, law enforcement across the country are warning communities that using a fake gun can carry serious penalties
  • Recordings of shooting at people or property and sharing it on social media can be used by law enforcement in prosecuting individuals of crimes potentially ending in jail time
  • Bystanders or police may determine that the toy guns may be real weapons on first glance and could respond with real-weapons

What can parents & educators do?

Example of the Orbeeze gel blaster challenge on TikTok
  • If your family allows using toy weapons, teach students about gun safety; even for toy guns like an airsoft or gel blaster
  • Talk about appropriate places and ways to use airsoft and gel blaster guns (like in a controlled environment)
  • Remind students that any replica of a gun could be considered to be a real weapon by others
  • Show students the warnings from law enforcement in your area or from other parts of the country and remind them that destroying others’ property or hurting people is illegal and posting evidence on social media can be used against them in prosecution
  • Talk with your students about what they are doing if they are suddenly interested in Orbeez gel balls that may seem out of the ordinary use of this toy

More social media challenge resources for parents, students, & educators

Listen to Mom Talk podcast where Beth and Andrea discuss the Orbeez Challenge

Conclusion

Shooting other people, or objects, with toy guns and gel balls might seem like fun and games, but when people are hurt or property are damaged, the fun turns into possible legal implications. Students need to be reminded that not everything they see on social media is appropriate for them to participate in and they don’t always see the after-effects of challenges, like physical damage or punishment after the video. 


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