BETHALTO, Ill. — Police are warning parents of a new “dangerous” TikTok trend that has gone viral nationwide showing teenagers shooting toy guns loaded with water pellets at strangers.

“I think it’s very disrespectful,” said O’Fallon resident Moreana Anthony.

Many Metro East residents say they’re watching their backs after multiple reports of the challenge in their hometowns.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s a real gun or not, it still hurts people,” said another Illinois resident. “It’s not right.”

If you search the social media app for the “SplatRball” challenge, you’ll find countless videos showing off toy guns with the same name. Filled with water beads, sometimes frozen, called Orbeez, police warn it causes more harm than it looks.

“Clearly you’re going to be alarmed, concerned and fear for your life when somebody drives by in a car and you hear with what sounds like automatic gunfire coming at you, and you see projectiles flying,” said Bethalto Police Chief Mike Dixon.

In the last few weeks, there have been three separate incidents reported to Bethalto police. One involved a car of minors ambushing a 63-year-old man while taking a walk.

“He thought he was being attacked by a dog. He thought he had been bit on his back,” said Dixon. “That’s how bad it hurt.”

On Saturday, an 11 year-old-girl in East Alton was struck while riding her bike in a nearby park. Leaving bruises on her thigh.

“It felt like rocks were hitting me and it made me feel really sad inside that people were doing that,” said the victim, Krysta Edelen.

The three teens sped away, but her mother said she filed a police report with Alton Police.

“I was very angry that she was crying and felt the way that she did,” said the victim’s mother. Misty Edwards. “Felt unsafe — and she’s just steps away from my house.”

Police are investigating an incident in Waterloo where two Walmart customers were struck on Monday and another incident in a nearby town where a 6-year-old girl was hurt as well.

“It might be a challenge or a funny thing to other people on TikTok, but I’m a parent, and I don’t think my parents or grandparents should do it,” said O’Fallon resident Remekah Anthony.

Police are calling on parents to talk to their kids to prevent them from joining in otherwise they could be facing a felony or jail time

“Don’t do this. Avoid going to jail. Avoid hurting somebody. Avoid all of this,” said Dixon.