1. The computer is the "distraction machine." It is just vibrating with distractions. Even the supposedly educational websites have things that move, different colors, links, and so forth. Keeping my kids focused on their lessons requires constant supervision. Most of the time spent at the computer is recreational.
2. I think the content tends to be superficial, possibly because making the underlying mechanics work detracts from actually creating content. A lot of the software that I saw in the early 80's was glorified flash cards, and I'm not sure it's much better today. I'd estimate kids spend twice the time on half the content.
3. The bright side is, I think there's some tech, that is qualitatively different than a textbook. It tends to resemble "real" software that grown-ups use, such as programming tools, computer algebra systems, and so forth. Schools rarely use this stuff.
Dead on. It's evolved to that point even for those of us that started in the 80s. Nothing but bright shiny things...a click away.
I proposed to set up a Linux system with all apps disabled save for a plain text editor. I told him that it's not a punishment, but just a experiment in finding a practical solution to a problem that he acknowledges.
More importantly, I think, is that a lot of educators and parents seem to value "having fun" as an important characteristic of education. I am doing research on innovative mathematics education in primary school, and, when asking teachers to evaluate the lessons or instructional materials, they always point out how much fun the children had (compared to the usual instruction). If I asked further and inquire about the actual learning of the students, most teachers aren't able to express anything beyond the superficial, either related to class management or to regurgitating parts of the curriculum.
As a result, there are very few distractions. They have putty and GitHub open on their screens, and nothing else.
We've been working for over a decade to make computer use as mindless, er, easy as possible.
Speaking of such software, I've built a ton of it:
www.jasymchat.com (a CAS with text chat built in.)
www.appynotebook.com (Awesome digital binder)
www.schoolnotez.com (static portable version of Appynotebook)