Turns out these stories were a cover of sort for some strange fad or cult popular with the youth in the area. Looks like some wise man of sorts came from the neighboring district, a priest or worshipper of Morpheus, and took some of the kids under his wing. Being resourceful teenagers with parents in the tech industry, they took his teachings and applied those resources to it.

From what I can gather, it seems like the ultimate goal of these kids is to re-wire their brains using AR technology, eventually making it so they can freely pass between the real world and dreams.

Though I'm reserving judgment on the efficacy of it, their methods are certainly interesting. Though I have yet to see any of the hardware in person, it seems it centers around the use of wearable computers that take in sensory information and filter it. They're constantly tweaking the filters, so that they never get too comfortable with a single mode of perception. And a large part of their method involves pinging the input from one sensor to different sensory organs. Sort of like a technologically-assisted synesthesia.