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Titans, Vols players offer support to bullying victim who made heartbreaking viral video

When a boy from the Knoxville, Tennessee, area was revealed to be a victim of bullying, players for the Tennessee Titans and Vols football teams decided to step up.

>> Read more trending news

A video went viral Friday afternoon of a Knoxville boy detailing the bullying he had endured at school.

>> Watch the heartbreaking clip here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

University of Tennessee sophomore receiver Tyler Byrd and freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano both pledged to visit the boy and offer support.

Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker responded with his own video and invited the boy and his family to an upcoming game.

>> Click here to watch

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Expecting mom says pregnancy photos show late husband's spirit

An expecting mom is honoring her late husband in a touching photo shoot.

Kelly Luethe’s husband, Jarrett, was killed in a car crash in August by a man who police say admitted to driving after drinking, the Star Tribune reports.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Military mom spreads smiles with creative holiday card

The couple from New Prague, Minnesota, had two children and another on the way in January.

Kelly recently had a maternity photo shoot ahead of the baby’s arrival. Photographer Jessica Brandau shared the stunning images to her Facebook page last week.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Many of the photos captured rainbows and lens flares, which Brandau calls “orbs.”

“As we were doing the shoot, I noticed that a rainbow had popped up in a few of the photos,” Brandau wrote on Facebook. “Kelly and I talked about how neat/cool/weird it was, and I literally had goosebumps/was on the verge of tears for most of her session.”

>> See one of the photos here

According to the Epoch Times, orbs are usually caused by light reflecting off dust in photographs, but some believe they represent the supernatural – like spirits or ghosts.

“Imagine how insane it was when I opened up the files on my computer and realized that the rainbows and orbs (yes I totally believe in orbs. Read up on them if you haven’t heard of them!) show up in almost all of the photos that we took that day,” Brandau wrote. 

>> Read more trending news 

Kelly shared her story with news personality Frank Sommerville on Facebook. Kelly said she believed her husband was watching over her that day.

She wrote: "There is a rainbow on my belly in almost every picture and we had a miscarriage earlier this year and so our little man (who will be named after his Daddy) is our rainbow baby. And the orbs that are shown are of my favorite color green and from doing some research on what the color of an orb means, green is from a happy spirit visiting, sending healing energy. I truly believe my husband was there and is watching over the kids and I."

>> See more photos here

Facebook unveils parent-controlled messenger app just for kids

Facebook on Monday announced it would be rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids in the United States, a new parent-controlled app to make it easier for kids to video chat and message with loved ones.

>> On AJC.com: How to keep your kids safe on social media

In a company blog post, Antigone Davis – public policy director and global head of safety at Facebook – wrote that the media site has been working on the product for the past 18 months, working closely with leading child development experts, parents and educators.

Davis named some reasons Facebook decided to create Messenger Kids and why they decided to create it right now.

>> Facebook wants users' nude photos to fight 'revenge porn'

She cited research that shows some 93 percent of U.S. kids ages six to 12 have access to tablets or smartphones — and 66 percent have their own device, often using apps meant for teens and adults.

In a collaboration with the National Parent Teacher Association on a study with more than 1,200 American parents of children under the age of 13, Facebook found three out of every five parents surveyed said their kids under 13 use messaging apps, social media or both, while 81 percent reported their children started using social media between the ages of 8 and 13.

>> On AJC.com: Did you fall for these fake ads? How Russian trolls got into your Facebook feeds

Kids said they want to use the platforms to have fun and connect with family. But safety is a growing concern among parents.

“My concern is safety, getting friend requests from people you don’t know, chatting with people you don’t know, giving out information to strangers,” one parent participant in the National PTA roundtable said.

>> On AJC.com: Georgia high school student in trouble after ‘threatening’ social media image

With the guidance of experts at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics among others, Facebook developed a set of principles for Messenger Kids:

  1. Putting kids first
  2. Providing a safe space that fosters joy, humor, play and adventure
  3. Enabling kids to mine their own potential by building for empowerment, creativity and expression
  4. Helping kids build a sense of self and community
  5. Recognizing the relationship between parent and child, and that we take our responsibility and their trust in us seriously.

>> On AJC.com: Google celebrates 50 years of kids coding languages – 5 ways to get your kid engaged

“We created Messenger Kids with the belief that parents are ultimately the best judges of their kids’ technology use, and the parents we’ve spoken to have asked for a better way to control the way their children message,” Davis wrote.

Because research on the long-term effects of screen time and technology on children is still limited, Facebook also announced a $1 million research fund to work with experts to explore the growing concerns.

>> On AJC.com: Study finds best way to control kids’ time online

About the new Messenger Kids app

The Messenger Kids app, aimed at kids ages 6-12, rolled out Monday on iOS in the U.S. An Android version is coming soon.

It’s important to note that kids under 13 are still not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account. Instead, parents can download the app on their child’s iPhone or iPad, create their profile and approve friends and family for their kids to chat with directly from the main Messenger app.

Kids will not show up in Facebook search results, so if a kid wants to chat with a friend, the parent will have to work with the friend’s parent to get them both approved. “This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids,” TechCrunch reported.

>> Read more trending news

Facebook added special proactive detection safety filters to prevent children from sharing sexual content, nudity or violence. A dedicated support team will work 24/7 to address any flagged issues. Parents won’t be able to spy on their kids’ chats.

To ensure an enjoyable experience, the company created a kid-friendly version of the Giphy GIF sharing engine. Kids can also play around with augmented reality masks and stickers, including fidget spinners and dinosaur AR masks.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook will not be directly monetizing the kids app, but hopes they will become dedicated Facebook users in the future.

More at newsroom.fb.com.

Donor found for toddler born without kidneys; Tyler Perry buys mother car

A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was given a car on Tuesday — hours before a kidney donor was found.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Toddler’s kidney transplant stalled due to dad’s latest arrest

Carmellia Burgess of Gwinnett County brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29. 

The family expected to wait for the news that his father, Anthony Dickerson, would be permitted to donate a kidney after a battle with the transplant team over his criminal history.

>> On AJC.com: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant

AJ battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she posted on Facebook.

That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gave Burgess a new car.

>> See her Facebook post here

The family later learned a deceased donor kidney will be given to AJ on Wednesday, attorney Mawuli Davis said.

>> Read more trending news 

“Father and mother are there excited and are being supported by Mr. Dickerson’s mentor, David Manuel, and Pastor Derrick Rice from Sankofa Church.

5-year-old seriously injured in restaurant bounce house

An Oklahoma boy is recovering after suffering a serious injury in a restaurant bounce house. 

>> Click here to watch the news report (WARNING: Linked video includes graphic images.)

A trip to an Incredible Pizza location in Warr Acres on Nov. 5 ended with the Lambert family’s 5-year-old son Bentley, who had been playing in a bounce house, asking if he was going to die.

>> Bounce house takes flight with children inside it

Incredible Pizza, known fully as America’s Incredible Pizza Co., shows on its website that it offers both food and entertainment at its restaurants, listing a bounce house among the number of attractions.

Shali Lambert spoke to KFOR about her son’s condition and said that, while he is on a long road to recovery, it was immediately clear to her and doctors how serious it was when a hook inside the bounce house came loose and tore into the child’s arm.

>> Read more trending news 

A hook inside of a padded wrecking ball came loose and seriously injured Bentley.

“He was screaming, ‘I’m stuck!' I just remember picking him up, and I had to unhook the clip and slide it out of his arm,” Lambert said. “He was asking if he was going to die. He saw all the blood in his arm, and so he was asking if he was going to die.”

>> 5 children hurt after bounce house goes airborne at church carnival

The child had to be rushed from the pizza place to the hospital, where doctors performed an emergency surgery. The boy’s arm has since been sewed up, but he may have to undergo physical therapy and additional surgeries in the future.

“No kid should have to go through that,” Bentley’s mother said.

It’s not clear at this time if the cost of the child’s surgery will be covered by the company, but its insurance company is involved.

On its website, Incredible Pizza says its mission is “to bring families and friends together through great food and fun,” adding that it operate its business “by Christian principles, delivering a positive family experience and a fair return to our company.”

Kevin Hart announces the birth of his son, Kenzo

Kevin Hart is a dad again. He and his wife, Eniko Parrish, welcomed baby Kenzo early Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

"God is truly amazing," Hart tweeted. "Kenzo Kash Hart was born at 1:45am ....He is Healthy & already smiling. Thank you all for your prayers!!!! We love & appreciate ya."

>> See the tweet here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Looks like mom was ready for her new bundle to get here!

>> See her Instagram post here

Girl Scouts say not to force your kids to hug relatives this holiday season

A parenting story on the Girl Scouts of the United States of America website is discouraging parents from forcing their daughters to hug relatives at holiday gatherings -- and any time during the year.

Titled, “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays,” the Nov. 2 article says encouraging young girls to go give a relative a hug or kiss as a greeting can lead to compromised views of consent.

“Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she ‘owes’ another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life,” the article said.

>> Read more trending news

Girl Scouts parenting expert and developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald explained the impact of telling young girls, “Go give your relative a big hug!” or “Give them a big kiss!”

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older,” Archibald said.

Archibald said that unfortunately, people who prey on children exist and young girls need to be taught at an early age what consent means and how to get help if their rights are violated.

Comments on the organization’s Facebook post of the article were mixed.

“No girl is going to seriously think she has to get physical with a guy to be polite, just because she had to give Aunt Betty a hug at Christmas when she was little,” one woman wrote.

“Our kids deserve to decide what they do with their own bodies,” one mother commented. “Forcing them to give hugs takes that away from them. Sure, teach kids to be respectful. But give them choices for how they show affection.”

“Please,You have gone overboard. One, no one MAKES a child gives a hug. Two, Don't assume physical affection leads to negative behavior,” a self-identified senior scout wrote.

“Of course we all want our kids to be loving and kind,” another mother wrote. “But doing something that doesn’t feel right to them just because an adult wants you to is wrong.”

“Boys don't owe hugs either. I only ‘made’ my kids hug and kiss my dad 1x...it was the day before he died...other than that, never have made them hug or kiss anyone if they weren’t wanting to,” another Facebook user commented.

The Girl Scouts story says that the placement of boundaries isn’t meant for children to be rude, but that a high-five, a wave, or a “hello” or “thank you” can be alternatives to hugs and kisses. The organization also says that if a child decides to show affection in a hug or kiss on their own accord, that’s fine -- as long as it’s her decision. 

Mom makes son do free yard work for neighbors as punishment for school suspension

A mother’s tough-love approach to her son’s bad behavior at school is getting a lot of praise online.

Shreveport, Louisiana, mom Demetris Payne shared a post on Facebook asking if anyone needed some free yard work, KSLA reports.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Grocery store employee goes above and beyond for boy going through tough time

“My son has been suspended for three days from school for discipline. He will do you lawn service, he will rake your yard, mow if you supply the mower, pick up trash or wash your car for free. Maximum three hours. If anyone has a rake they would like to donate will be awesome,” Payne wrote on Facebook.

Payne said she got a lot of responses to the post.

>> Read more trending news 

“He’s booked up for this weekend,” Payne wrote in the comments section of the post. Videos and photos shared on Facebook show her son working and cleaning up yards.

>> See the photos here

Another video showed Payne’s son mowing a second yard later that day.

>> See the video here

On Tuesday, Payne shared an update, saying her son was back at school.

“Look who’s back at school. Meeting with all his teachers and set up a plan so we can make sure he stays on track,” she wrote.

>> See the post here

People online praised the mom for teaching her son a valuable lesson.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“Raising children in this day and age is difficult,” wrote B Lori Watkins. “Great job young man… One day you will thank her for doing this.”

>> See the comment here

Servicemen help pregnant widow of fallen comrade with Veterans Day gender reveal

A military widow got some help from her late husband’s comrades in revealing the gender of the couple’s baby.

>> Watch the video here

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ryan Lohrey was killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi. The plane was heading from North Carolina to Arizona for a military training, WECT reports.

Ryan had tied the knot with his wife, Cassie, just one month before his death on July 10.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Soldiers help with gender reveal for widow of fallen comrade 

“Our wedding was June 3,” said Cassie. “Just to think your life had completely turned upside down in 24 hours, just nothing you would ever expect.”

Cassie found out she was pregnant just days after Ryan’s July 31 memorial service.

Though she was heartbroken over the loss of her husband, Cassie was excited to welcome a baby.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“I knew Ryan wouldn’t leave me alone,” Cassie told CNN. “He wanted me to have a piece of him forever.”

She asked his team members to visit on Veterans Day to help with a gender reveal.

“I wanted to honor her daddy on this special day,” Cassie said. “Veterans Day is a big deal for us every year, but this year it’s extra special.”

Photos and video shared by SaralynJ Photography on Facebook show at least 17 of Ryan’s comrades surrounding Cassie.

>> See the photos here

The Marine and Navy corpsmen released tubes of pink confetti, revealing the exciting news that Cassie was expecting a baby girl.

“There was a lot of crying, a lot of yelling and a lot of hugging,” said photographer Saralyn Johnson told CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

CNN reports the baby girl will be named Ryan Jo Lohrey. She will arrive in March 2018.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the soon-to-be single mom. If you’d like to donate, click here.

>> Watch the news report here

Parents of twins find out they're expecting triplets

A father was shocked when he found out his wife was expecting triplets after welcoming a set of twins.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

In addition to the three bundles of joy on the way, Nia and Robert Tolbert of Waldorf, Maryland, have three sons, ABC News reports. The couple welcomed one son, Shai, six years ago. Twin boys Riley and Alexander came next. The twins are now 2 years old.

Nia surprised Robert with the news by placing the sonogram photos in a bag with three onesies.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Watching these twin babies dance will melt your heart

“I opened the bag and I saw a very, very long sonogram,” Robert told ABC News. “Then I saw three onesies in the bag … and they were numbered 1, 2, and 3.”

The couple told WUSA the babies were conceived naturally. Nia learned she hyperovulates, which means her body releases more than one egg during ovulation.

After getting over the initial shock, they said they are excited to welcome the newest members of their family.

>> Read more trending news 

“We live by the mantra of being impeccable with our words. Words have power. The more positivity you speak into your life, the more positivity you’ll get out of it. So we don’t have time to be negative or woe is me or be nervous,” Robert said.

The couple told Inside Edition they’re officially done having kids. They found out in an exciting gender reveal that they are expecting three baby girls, bringing perfect balance to their home — three boys and three girls.

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