Looking to start a conversation with your teen? Check out our take on the science of selfies.

Why do your selfies look weird? It turns out it’s not just because you’re twenty years past your prime.

There is an actual scientific reason why your selfies look odd to you. It has to do with the fact that you’re accustomed to viewing yourself in a mirror. When you’re applying makeup or shaving, you're looking at an image of yourself that is flipped, a literal “mirror image” of your actual features.

Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago and the author of Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want, maintains that people don't really know what they look like. They know what they look like in a mirror. In fact, the way we look at ourselves is the opposite of the way other people see us.

Because human faces aren’t perfectly symmetrical, this makes a difference.

Looking at yourself in the mirror becomes a firm impression. You have that familiarity. Familiarity breeds liking. You’ve established a preference for that look of your face.

Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Center

So when we see a selfie we're getting a look at the way other people see us, and that can be disconcerting.

There's even more to our strange-looking selfies than the mirror effect. There’s a little bit of mathematics at work.

Often incorrectly attributed to lens distortion, the way selfies exaggerate certain features is more a matter of geometry, as Daniel Baker, a lecturer in psychology at the University of York, explains on his blog. The parts of your face that are closer to the camera seem larger than other features in comparison to non-selfie photographs, where the distance from the camera to your face is longer and has more of a flattening effect on your face.

So try busting out those fun facts the next time you're struggling for a topic of conversation that your teen can relate to. Better yet, at the next family dinner try asking your teens if they know who is credited with creating the word ‘selfie.’ When they say no, you can blow their minds with the answer. Then share a couple of tips on how they can take even better selfies, from the man who created them:

JIM KRAUSE... the originator of the term "selfie" [suggests] Selfies should be decisive: They should either declare "I am a selfie" by clearly giving away that the person in the shot is also the person holding the camera, or they should be sly and completely hide the fact that the photographer is also the subject. Think backdrop(!) when shooting selfies. What's behind you? How does it affect the scene? Can you frame yourself beneath a arc of neon or within the frame of doorway? What about stepping in front of an ornate sheet of wallpaper or a blurred cityscape? Great portraits — and great selfies—are often a matter of a great backdrop.

One last thing.

At RAKKOON we’re all about helping parents find common ground with their teens. Sometimes that means being able to mess with them on a topic like selfies. Sometimes it means sitting down and having a heart-to-heart about the upside (and the downside) of posting to social media networks. For more information on how to connect with your teens about social media, check out our blog.