Khatija Hussain


Digital Age: Isolation or Freedom? Is digital age the cause for or the effect of feelings of isolation or freedom amongst university students

Supervisors: Dr Ross Abbinett and Dr Tarsem Singh Cooner

Khatija's key research interest is whether the digital age we live in today is the cause for or the effect of isolation or freedom. Are we more reliant on the technological devices/social media because we are lonely, or are we more reliant on technological devices because we can be ourselves, giving us a sense of freedom?

This study will aim to explore whether or not social media triggers feelings of isolation/belonging, or is it that isolation/belonging is a justification to use more social media. The data in this study will be collected using surveys and in-depth interviews, questions would be tailored to identify how people use social media/technology in relation to their feelings, with the emphasis on the role played by isolation/belonging (freedom) in social media usage.

LinkedIn Profile


  • BA (Hons) Sociology – Coventry University
  • MA Digital Media and Society – University of Leicester

Research interests

  • Technology use in relation social science
  • Identity – impact on our decision
  • Freedom/isolation – Belonging/lack of Mental health

Research Overview

Khatija is a first year PhD student in Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology at University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on whether the digital age we live in today is the cause for or the effect of isolation or freedom.

Khatija's BA (Hons) thesis on ‘to what extent does cultural backgrounds have an impact on the way people use mobile phones’ discovered that cultural backgrounds do affect the way we use mobile phones, whether this is for professional or personal reasons. However, it was suggested that other factors such as age or generation have more of an impact than does culture. Khatija undertook her MA thesis on ‘How isolated do postgraduate student feel as a result of social media’, finding that there were mixed feelings associated with social media with some people feeling that they belonged, whilst others felt isolated, especially during COVID-19.

During and following her undergraduate career, Khatija fulfilled roles in various professional fields, including Learning Support Assistant (Academy – secondary) and Data collection Assistant, which have both helped to decide a future career in academia. 

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