Take away the issue of possibility of becoming sexually active, the continuing rise of unplanned teen pregnancies, the possibility of catching an STD, the increased risk of exposure to things like alcohol, illicit drug use, and physical and emotional abuse, and I still don't think that young teens should be allowed to date (at least not in the classic sense of the word) period.
Should a fourteen year old date someone eighteen or older? Absolutely not!
The difference is not just in the number of years, but in terms of life experience. While the four year difference between a 20 year old and a 24 year old, or a 24 year old and a 28 years old is not huge, when the difference is between fourteen and eighteen, it is light years.
I am the mother of a sixteen year old daughter and a seventeen year old son. House rule since they were babies; You may not date until you are at least sixteen years old. At that time, we will revisit the issue and a decision will be made based upon your level of maturity, and responsibility. (Our definition of date is as in the classic sense, so this means that you cannot go out, on your own, just the two of you, and no car dates.)
I am not naive enough to think that even the toughest parent can stop the evolution of crushes and puppy love, and both of my children had the requisite "boyfriend/girlfriends, that all the other kids had, and that was as it should be, but as I reminded them frequently, you can have as many boyfriends/girlfriends as you like, but you still aren't dating until you're sixteen."
Beginning in junior high school, we did allow group dates, school dances, etc. but only with the stipulation that either we, or other parents were doing the picking up and dropping off.
They both were allowed to begin dating at sixteen, but there are still rules to follow; No dating anyone who is more than two years older or two years younger than yourself. No dating anyone that we (Mom & Dad) have not met. (If you can't bring them home to meet us, then we will assume that there is something inappropriate about the relationship that you are trying to keep from us) and for my daughter, no boy may take her out unless he picks her up at the door. (This is a matter of respect, not to us, but to her,)
We must know where you are going, if your plans change, call home, if you want to go somewhere afterward, call home. You may not go to his/her house and hang out unless their is a parent home, and they may not come here and hang out unless their is a parent home.