This is a very interesting topic for sure
many are saying, depends on maturity and circumstances, which is pretty much what dh and i have said as well. we come from quite oppsoite spectrums .. he started dating/having sex at 13, his parents both smoked pot with him, drank with him, used other drugs with him too for that matter... I on the otherhand really never officially dated, as in couple going somewhere together without others with us or picking them up in a minute and meeting a bigger group, i've never used any drug, and still havent been drunk, had a few drinks here and their though.
Alot of my dating experiances were literally right at my home, the one my parents liked the best, and relationship wise i did too(he and I are still very good friends BTW) We would go to church together, he'd come over for the day, we'd generally spend the day laying on my waterbed, with my beanbag chair in the middle so we could each prop up on it, on opposite sides, and read for most of the afternoon and talk, listen to music etc. We'd also ride our bikes together, hike thru the woods, stuff like that.
my oldest 2 are just coming into range so i dont have direct experiance, but we'll likley do similar to my parents, talk to them, be open, and most of all... find out your kids definition of dating!!! what THEY think they want to do and/or should be able to do. many of us might just be suprised how little they are asking when they ask, "can me and billy go on a date"
or you can go for my brothers father in laws way, great where we going? ... lol When my brother asked his blessing to marry his daughter his response was, well sure you can! we love you like a son as it is! So where are we going for the honeymoon? bro n his wife "dated" almost 6yrs before getting married, always group stuff with a couple exceptions.