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Photo illustration of social media apps on a phone. Photo: Matt Cardy / Contributor

In a trend that worries sexual abuse experts, teens and even younger children are sharing more nude pictures of themselves, often with adults, a new study has found.

Why it matters: Once shared with even one person, such images can easily be distributed further and become part of the corpus of child sexual abuse material in the dark corners of the web.

Driving the news: Twice as many children between the ages of 9 and 12 reported sending nudes or other suggestive pictures of themselves in 2020, compared to the prior year, according to new research from non-profit Thorn, which works to prevent child exploitation.

  • LGBTQ+ teens were nearly three times as likely to share nude pictures of themselves than their non-LGBTQ+ peers.
  • "Puberty and technology are on a collision course, and kids now face situations online that their parents never experienced, at a younger age than most people would think," Thorn CEO Julie Cordua said in a statement to Axios.

The big picture: Thorn's report, which focuses on images created by kids themselves, follows another study that found that the total amount of child sexual abuse material online has also increased.

Between the lines: The pandemic has made the situation even more challenging, Cordua said, adding that kids are now spending more time online, often with even less supervision.

  • "It has never been more urgent that we talk with our kids about online safety," Cordua said. "That can start with having an honest, judgment-free conversation as soon as children have access to a device."

Go deeper

Black Friday in-store shopping up from 2020 but trails pre-pandemic levels

Shoppers carry their purchases during Black Friday shopping at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, Ill., on Nov. 26. Photo: Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

More shoppers flocked to stores on Black Friday this year compared to last, but online shopping was lower than expected, according to data from Friday.

Driving the news: Online shopping was on the lower end of what was expected, largely because people had been ringing up their shopping carts earlier in the year in an effort to skirt potential supply chain issues, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.