Simon Patrick Westwood, 46, was found guilty of multiple offences relating to sexual communication with a child.
This happened over nine months, between January and October 2021.
Southampton Crown Court heard that Westwood exchanged messages of a highly sexual nature with what he believed was a child.
He also made arrangements and travelled to meet with them.
Westwood was charged with attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and arranging and or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, on October 28, 2021, at Southampton Crown Court.
In addition to his prison term, the Eastleigh man was forced by the judge to sign onto the sex offenders register, which he will remain on indefinitely.
Westwood was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Detective Inspector James Oxley, of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), said: ‘This case demonstrates the dangers individuals such as Westwood pose to children, from chatting to them online to meeting up with them in person
‘It is an important reminder to everyone not to become complacent about keeping children and young people safe online.
‘Westwood engaged in explicit discussions online with a person he believed to be a child before arranging to meet them to commit sexual offences.
‘By working in collaboration with Hampshire Constabulary, officers were able to carry out a thorough investigation, demonstrating the lengths we continue to go to disrupt sexual exploitation and keep children safe from harm.’
Following the sentencing on Monday, Detective Constable Angela Smith-Jones said: ‘In a day and age where social media is so prevalent in young people’s lives, and the ease in which messages can be sent by people unknown to them, it is incredibly important that we, as the police, are in a position to investigate if we believe that criminal offences have taken place during these exchanges.
‘During this investigation, we have worked closely with the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) in order to develop evidence against an individual who had every intention of meeting who they believed to be a child in order to commit sexual offences against them.
‘Thankfully due to hard work, commitment and co-operation from officers from both Hampshire Constabulary and SEROCU, we have been able to bring an individual to justice before they could cause undue harm.
‘We want to continue to protect any vulnerable people, including young children, against possible sexual exploitation and I hope that this conviction shows the lengths that we will go to investigate any such claims.
‘I also hope this sentence will alert others, as well as the parents of young children, to the dangers of the digital world and also encourage any victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and speak to us, no matter when it happened.
‘We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and will always seek to bring those responsible for committing these offences to justice.’
People are advised to call 999 immediately if they believe a child is in immediate danger.