There is a lot of irony to the internet. Although it does allow us to escape from reality, and isolates us, it also connects us as never before. We are talking now, across time and space, in a way that we never could before. I have found people on Facebook I had been seeking for a long time. Sites like enotes allow people to ask questions of others they never had and never will meet, and have lively discussions. I think we can use the internet to enhance reality rather than escape from it.
The link below is to an article with more references to assist you in your analysis of this topic. I think that the evidence is out there to suggest that the internet holds a profound effect on users. The more one uses it, the greater the chance of dependency and this does alter the way in which individuals view and form relationships. It is in this light where depression results if it is absent. Social networking has revolutionized the way the internet is viewed as a communicative medium. The idea that individuals are able to log on to facebook or Myspace as a functioning part of relationships could be one avenue to explore. I think that the research can show how individuals feel much more free to construct their own identities and notion of a self via digital means through computers and the internet. This is vastly different than having to engage in direct and intimate contact. Another example of how the impact the web has on relationships would be the proliferation of Skype or Yahoo Messenger as a way to remain in contact with others. Both uses demonstrate the profound impact the internet has on its users with regard to social activity and the relationship with other people. To take this away would definitely be reason for depression or some type of significant change in behavior. I think that you can progress quite well with this task through online research or scholarly analysis or investigate through individual narratives how internet use impacts the way in which others are viewed, especially amongst young people. A hybrid of both can be pursued, as well.