At Newport Crown Court, Martin Connelly, 42, from Caerphilly was blasted by a judge for looking at the “vile and degrading” material.
The defendant, formerly of Green Hill Close, Penybryn, pleaded guilty to making indecent category A and C images.
He also admitted distributing a category C image.
Kevin Seal, mitigating, said: “Even though he’s aged 42, he’s still a vulnerable individual.
“He involved himself in drinking too much and taking drugs during the Covid outbreak to excess.
“The defendant was isolated and he went on chatrooms.”
The court heard he was “encouraged” into his offending by someone in the chatroom called ‘Merlin’.
“There is no evidence he searched for these images,” Mr Seal added.
“The proceedings have had a devastating impact on the defendant and he does now have some understanding of the consequences of those involved in that these are real children.
“He knows he will have to register as a sex offender.”
The defendant had no relevant previous convictions.
The judge, Recorder David Harris, told Connelly: “I am satisfied that you were a willing participant in receiving these graphic images and that you had sexual gratification from viewing them.
“These are vile and degrading images of young children being sexually abused.”
Recorder Harris added: “You have demonstrated significant remorse for these images and I bear in mind that you pleaded guilty to these offences at the first time at the magistrates’ court.”
Connelly was sentenced to a three-year community order.
He will have to attend 30 sessions of a sex offender programme and complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
The defendant, who is homeless and unable to claim benefits, will have to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
Connelly will have to register as a sex offender for the next five years and he was made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.
He was ordered to pay a £114 surcharge.