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Middle-school principal Anthony Orsini of Ridgewood, N.J., made national headlines last year when he urged parents to keep their young adolescents off Facebook — at least until high school.

The slings and arrows of social-media stings by peers — also known as cyberbullying — were far more common than any from adult predators, Orsini said, calling threats from the latter “insignificant compared to the damage that children at this age constantly and repeatedly do to one another through social-networking sites, through text- or picture-messaging.’’

In the leafy, upscale suburb of Ridgewood, Orsini witnessed pain caused by gossipy online barbs. So he took a stand against the use of social media — one that landed him on television and as a subject in a lengthy New York Times piece last spring.

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Liz Willen, a longtime education journalist, has led the award-winning Hechinger Report staff as editor in chief since 2011. A sought-after moderator of education conferences and events, Willen also writes...

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