Do people in general (and teenagers in particular) spend too much time watching television? If so, what are the consequences of this?

Teenagers spend far too much time watching television. The "boob-tube" has now become man's best friend, and this is a shame.

The consequences are that people are no longer able to entertain themselves, and that hours upon hours of time are wasted.

There are a few decent and intelligent programs on nowadays, but most are inane sitcoms and soap operas. Instead of reading the newspaper, people just watch the news. Everyone who is influenced by television has become dependent on it, because it's so easy to become entranced by it, and this makes people lazy and numb. LINDSAY HOOPER Wilson

I would be the first to admit that I am a bona fide television addict. In fact, I probably watch it too much. I also believe that people like me are in the majority.

Perhaps some of these people represent some of the negative effects of avid television watching. They may be totally preoccupied with TV and have time for nothing else. Or perhaps these people build their days or pattern their lives around and after TV times and characters. Some may even come up with the total misconception that what they see on television is always real.

However, we must always remember that there are two sides to every story. TV watching can be educational and helpful. There are also those people for whom the excessive TV-watching poses no threat. I am one of those people. Despite the fact that I spend a lot of time viewing television, I still have time for more important things. I know TV does not come first. I also know what is fact and what is fiction.

I believe that it depends on the individual when determining if TV is detrimental to our minds and whether it effects our lives in any way. KIMBERLY PATRICK Woodson

Are people watching too much television? I think not.

Television is the public's major form of information and entertainment. Before TV was invented, I believe people spent as much time in front of the radio trying to become informed and be entertained as people today spend watching TV.

People believe that more time should be spent reading, because, they maintain, it leads you to use your brain more. When you watch comedies and game shows, brains are being used. Game shows are very informative and the soap operas, comedies and mysteries often have a moral from which people do learn valuable lessons about life.

If there was no TV, I believe there would be a lot more narrow-minded, naive and prejudiced people. Television brings the world into your living room and helps you understand people of different cultures and points of view.

TV, in my opinion, is not being watched too much. In fact, it should be watched more by some people. SANDRA MITCHELL Roosevelt

Since the advent of television, the American lifestyle has become mediocre, standardized, and is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Though the results are many, I can see only one major cause: television. It has been a catalyst to the increase in teenage violence, decrease in attention spans among all teenagers and "consumer-itis."

The family scene used to be seated around an appetizing tableful of nourishment. Now, all too often, it is a group of family members seated around the TV, with a specialized TV dinner. It is no wonder that we can rarely find a teenager with the basic social graces; we are no longer obligated to interact with others. Discussion outside of the weather, sports, and social life doesn't exist!

Due to the unfortunate hegemony of television, fewer people read. Why should they read when they can easily put their brains on hold and have it spoon-fed to them? Another misfortune among America's youth is the death of patience. We want it now, or else . . . yet we don't want to work for it. SHIVA GHEAD Holy Cross

Designed as a form of family entertainment, television has become a possessor of the souls of men.

Television has evolved into such an overwhelming power that it practically controls what we eat, how we look, and anything that concerns the material existence of man.

Through its power of suggestion, television has set many fads and fashions. It has been known to promote violence, promiscuity and racism, and may be the cause of teenage crime, teen pregnancy, and other demeaning facts of our society.

Television has also been known to promote education, religion, and social achievement. Through these, many have been given encouragement and direction in their lives.

I don't have the authority to say that people watch too much TV. It's up to the individual to to decide what's too much television for him. We should control the dials and not let the medium control us. RACQUELLE PROCTOR Roosevelt "Speak Out" Topic For February 4:

Recently, the Chicago public school system decided to provide students in grades four through eight with calculators for use in math classes. Some experts fear that the use of calculators by the young will cause permanent damage by imparing the learning of fundamentals. Others believe that the calculators will make learning math more fun and interesting to students.

Is this a good idea? What effect do calculators have on learning the basics of math?

Responses should be no more than 150 words in length. Political-style cartoons on the topic are welcome. All submissions should include the student's name, school and grade.

Responses should be addressed to: Weekly High School Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Deadline for responses is January 25.