My 13 year old boy already has a girlfriend but with no sexual activity.
By the way, my husband was a late bloomer and started dating at 19. A Confused Mother Dear Mother, I completely understand why you are confused.
First, the definition of dating is different these days than it was when you and your husband were younger.
I didn't sneak around and date either because I didn't want to get into trouble with my parents.
I wasn't allowed to date until I was 18 because I had very strict parents.
It is not so much a concern as it is that this idea of kids dating as has been perpetuated via media.
Practically every show out there aimed at kids shows characters either dating, being in romantic relationships or the like.
I'd focus on curfew, I'd limit activities for a 13 year old to 9pm, but might let a 17 yr old stay out until 11 or 12, depending on the individual.
I am a mother of two kids one is 13 and another is 11.
I think that for dating where one person is picking the other up, 16 is obvious because that is the driving age.
But my personal opinion is that if they want to go to a movie or other activity together, and a parent will drop them off and pick them up from that activity, I think 13 or 14 is perfectly Ok.
Last week the 12 year old asked when she can start dating.