Leeds Crown Court heard how police attended Christopher Higson's house after being alerted to indecent images being downloaded to his IP address.
The 60-year-old told officers that he was isolating due to Covid symptoms, but police were able to enter his property using a warrant.
Nearly 600 indecent images of children, aged between four and 15, were found on his phone - 22 of which were the most serious category.
It is understood the photos were downloaded by Higson between November 2018 and April 2019.
Prosecuting Higson, Carmel Pearson suggested that a sexual harm prevention order should severely restrict Higson's internet usage, including a ban on social media without permission of the police.
However, defence barrister Gareth Henderson-Moore said: "This is too prescriptive - we live in the digital age."
The judge agreed to allow him access to social media, adding: "It would interfere with his human rights, as it were."
Higson, of Blakey Grove, Wakefield, had pleaded guilty to three counts of downloading indecent images of children.
Sentencing him, Recorder G Singh said: "This is not a victimless crime. Without people it accessing it, there would be no market for it, and no subjecting children to the pain and harm that comes with it."
"You are solely to blame for your own criminality and having these images on your phone. No one else is to blame for this.
"That said, it would be easy for me to sentence you to a short custodial term without the help you need to stop. This needs to be nipped in the bud."
Passing a five year sex offender's order, along with a two-year rehabilitation requirement and a nighttime curfew, Judge Singh added: "If you come back to this court, you will go to prison.
"You present yourself as remorseful and ashamed, and so you should. This is your first offence and, I dare say, is deeply embarrassing.
"If you come back here again, you will not be leaving through the same door you came in. This is a sad indictment of society."