A judge has spoken of his sadness at the use of chatrooms involving the young leading to sex offences.
Judge Charles Byers said he had heard reports from school head teachers and pupils about the prevalence of such contact.
"It saddens me it happens," he said. "I have been to schools to talk about it. It is greatly concerning.
Judge Charles Byers has retired because of ill health
"There is an awful lot of this going on. I know the police are doing all they can, going into schools to make children aware."
The judge made the comments when sentencing a 21-year-old pervert who downloaded child sex images while using chatrooms.
"You must understand that in order to produce this type of photograph that you had stored on your computer, real children have to be abused..." - Judge Charles Byers
Jamie Nichols, of Lee Road, Snodland, was given six months' imprisonment - suspended for two years - after admitting five offences of making indecent photos of a child and one of possessing such photos.
He will be under supervision for two years and will have to attend a sex offenders' programme.
Prosecutor John Fitzgerald said Nichols was candid with police after his computer equipment was seized and more than 100 sordid images from levels one to four were found.
Nichols was aged 19 when he entered various chatrooms online and spoke to others about child abuse. He was sent both still and film images.
"He encouraged female teenagers to expose themselves," said Mr Fitzgerald.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Nichols left school with GCSEs and was doing a university course, but did not complete it.
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
Judge Byers told him: "You must understand that in order to produce this type of photograph that you had stored on your computer, real children have to be abused.
"If there were not people prepared to access the internet in the way you did, then some children at least might escape such humiliation and degradation.
"In addition to that you were indulging in chatroom contact with others encouraging them to do things which they should not ordinarily be doing at that age."
But he added: "I have to ask myself whether it is in the public interest that you serve a three-months sentence for this or that you be educated on a suggested course.
"I am prepared to take that risk with you because of your age and guilty pleas."
A sexual offences prevention order was made and Nichols will be on the sex offenders' register for five years.