One of my friends’ coworker published a book about Second Life. He conducted a study that explained how individuals escape reality as a result of challenges, such as sexual orientation, mental illness, and physical disabilities. Here is his website if you are interested: http://faculty.sites.uci.edu/boellstorff/
This phenomenon does exist. I belonged to a small, family-oriented, and spiritual virtual world. That is where I met H. The environment was relaxing and creative. The members from all around the world helped me to open up my mind regarding many subjects. We enjoyed the incredible connections and possibilities.
Did we try to escape reality? Probably we did. But can we actually escape reality? I don’t think so. We can play hide and seek while we don’t pay attention to the problems that surround us. We might create surrogate virtual families and immerse ourselves in our fantasies. Then, we can develop an addiction. By that time, the virtual world is no fun. It is a must. It becomes a substitute for life just like substances. To me, it is both sad and understandable. I can’t judge because I have my own experiences about internet addiction. It was very powerful. What can I say? Awareness is my best friend.