Teenagers getting mixed messages when teen idols become involved with domestic abuse

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Visit a middle school or high school and you'll find fans of teen idols, Chris Brown and Rihanna.  Some students own the entire collection of both musical artists. They like the music's message. "(It's) about love and how they care about each other," is how one middle school student described it.

Yet Chris Brown allegedly biting, strangling and threatening to kill Rihanna doesn't sound like a message of love. "When I first heard about it I was shocked," expressed a student. Rihanna was seriously hurt, yet there's reports she's going back to Brown. More than one student agreed, "That's dumb. If he hit you one time, he'll hit you again." Yet some teens are viewing it as nothing but a lover's quarrel. "Obviously, they have love for each other. I don't think he would do it again," said one student.

Teen idols can set great examples for educators, but when a teen idol makes a mistake it sets a bad example and social workers become concerned.  "They're not separating the artist from the person," observed Myra Jones, a middle school social worker.

What plays out among celebrities, also happens among teens. Physical abuse between boyfriends and girlfriends certainly happens. "More than most people realize," said Jones. "in high school, sometimes you hear the kids here, speaking about a boyfriend maybe throwing a girlfriend up against a locker. And is it reported? I seriously doubt it."

School social workers encourage parents to learn about abuse among teenagers. They suggest to parents to talk to their teens about their friends. Teach them violence isn't the answer. And most importantly, to report abuse to a trusted adult.

Just like with Rihanna, girlfriends consider and often do go back to abusive boyfriends. "That's just crazy," said one young girl. But some teens justify violent anger. "He should go to jail, but I would hit him," said a student. The only difference, a teen's recovery from a bad mistake isn't as easy as it is for singers with big hits. "I'll still go buy his CD's because I love Chris brown. He's so hot," smiled a fan.