I am sorry but i don't agree.
Internet is actually _very_ distracting. I belong to the pre-internet generation. Back when i was 12 the only computers that were around were MSXes, Commodores, Ataris, TRSes, Apples and some very expensive IBM compatibles which were way too expensive for most of us anyways.
While my resources were VERY limited i learned a lot spending hours over hours on my MSX, reading and re-reading the few books i had but most of all "exploring" by trial and error. Internet was unknown to me, and so did BBSes too (the only thing i really miss and i only wish i could have experienced).
For every other kind of information that was not related to computers i could rely on the local public library, on the books at my school, on a couple of encyclopedias that i had access to, on my parents, on my friends (adult and not) and on teachers.
Sometimes i look at the kids i know today... and i see them wasting their time on facebook, youtube, 4chan... and sometimes i wonder... what if i had Internet access back in my youth? I would have probably wasted my time too. Because, lets be honest... Internet is a hell fun. Forums are fun, youtube is fun, the kitties on the internet are cute and kawaii, facebook is... ok... facebook is just scary... so instead than studying, exploring, experimenting i would have probably learned nothing beside how to waste time with perfectly unknown strangers who spend their lives trolling online and today i would probably know 1/4 of what i do and what i need in my job (i am a software developer).
Please note that i am not saying that Internet is bad for children. It isn't. It is actually very useful... what i am saying is that it is extremely distracting and that most activities online are not educative at all and also that there are lots of other resources "out there" (yes, outside of the bedroom) and that kids probably are better off playing, experimenting with their peers, riding their bikes before they become too old to find that fun and the outside world amusing or left alone with an internet-less computer with a couple of good books about programming and maybe a couple of informative DVD-Roms.
So no, i don't agree that "give them a computer and it's like giving a starving man a tin of beans - but no tin opener", it was not true for me back in the 80es/90es, it is not true for a child today. Internet is a nice addition and if not abused it can become a great educative and fun tool... but is not vital for learning.
Also... a computer without internet access is still better than no computer at all.